Antimicrobial resistance threat to SDG 3 attainment

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has emphasised the need to deal with the phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance in the country, saying the situation remains a threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal 3.

“As Co-Chair of the United Nations Advocates Group of Eminent Persons on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, I am aware that the SDG 3 demands that we ensure the promotion of healthy lives and the promotion of wellbeing for all at all ages.

The phenomenon of anti-microbial resistance represents a grave threat to the realization of SDG 3, which warrants all our efforts being geared towards overcoming the resistance,” he said.

The President made the declaration when he launched Ghana’s Anti-Microbial Resistance Policy and National Plan in Accra, Wednesday.

According to the World Health Organisation, Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs like antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

In his address, President Akufo-Addo noted that even though antimicrobials have been used to prevent and treat microbial infections, over the course of several years, over the last decade, however, anti-microbial resistance is threatening to derail the significant achievements made in the field of infectious disease therapy, animal and crop health, the environment, and our fisheries and aqua culture.

He further explained that with the current situation, “simple treatment for infections, such as pneumonia or gonorrhea, can no longer be possible because of anti-microbial resistance, when we are having to grapple with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which is threatening to undo decades of progress made in the treatment and control of tuberculosis.’

“Our food supply chain is also not being spared, because antibiotic resistance is a major challenge to animal husbandry, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as Ghanaian research has shown. Our environment is also at risk, because of the effluents from industry that keep polluting the soil and water bodies,” he added.

He therefore urged all to join in the fight to deal with the phenomenon, stressing that the launch of the policy and action plan is a clear indication that the country is ready to address the problem.

“I am, therefore, tasking the SDG Secretariat to ensure their smooth and hitch-free implementation. Additionally, the Minister for Health and the Attorney General are to take the necessary steps to move some of the policy issues into legislation, to ensure our public health safety,” the President said.