President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Wednesday launched Ghana’s Anti-microbial Resistance Policy and National Action Plan documents, and called on Ghanaians to look critically in the handling of antimicrobials to combat the resistance phenomenon.

The president indicated that even though antimicrobials had, over the years, been used to prevent and treat microbial infections, the significant gains made in the field of infectious disease, animal and crop health, as well as livestock and aquaculture were being threatened by the increasing cases of resistance.

He made the disclosure during the Launching of the two documents at the Accra International Conference Centre last Wednesday. He indicated that, the phenomenon of anti-microbial resistance poses threat to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal 3, which demanded that countries ensured healthy lives and the promotion of wellbeing for all at all ages. In the face of the threat, the president urged stakeholders to double their efforts towards ensuring that the threat posed by the situation was effectively tackled.

The President pointed out that with antimicrobial resistance, simple treatment for infections, such as pneumonia or gonorrhoea, could no longer be possible. He was worried that the world was already struggling with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which threatens to undo several years of progress made in the treatment and control of tuberculosis.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also indicated that, the phenomenon had affected the food supply chain as well, as antibiotic resistance was becoming a major challenge to animal husbandry, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as records indicate. The environment, the president opined, is also at risk, as effluents from industry keep polluting the soil and water bodies, and so, it has, become important that we recognise this, and the current steps we have taken to deal with the Resistance phenomenon, he demanded.

The President was happy about the launch of the National Policy and Action Plan documents, saying, it was a clear indication that Ghana was ready to take action to contain the situation. He, therefore, tasked the SDG Secretariat to ensure a smooth and hitch-free implementation of the policy and action plan, and further directed the health minister and the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to move some of the policy issues into legislation, to ensure public health safety, covering the environment and waste, rational use of medicines, crop and animal production, including residues.

The President was hopeful that Ghana was well-positioned to join in the global effort to fight against anti-microbial resistance, stating, “It is my hope that the committed implementation of the interventions outlined in these documents will guarantee the efficacy, as well as ensure the responsible use of antimicrobials, and, thereby, preserve them for future generations.”

“We are mobilising domestic resources to deal with this menace, a mobilisation which is an integral part of our vision of creating a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he concluded.

The Minister for health, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who gave the welcome address thanked the president for honouring the invitation. He also thanked all those whose efforts culminated into coming out with the Policy and the National Action Plan documents.

The event which was chaired by Nana Prah Agyensim VI also had in attendance, the Ministers for Environment, Science Technology and Innovation, Fisheries and Acqua Culture, who were collaborators in developing the two documents. Others in attendance were, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Owen Laws Kaluwa, some MPs, Chiefs, Queen mothers and several other government officials.

ROBERT CUDJOE

HEAD, PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT

11th April, 2018