KENYA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) Kenya, are hosting the “Regional Meeting to Review Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines and Implementation of AMR Surveillance” workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The review workshop that started on the 7th and ends on the 12th of August 2023 and aims to devise collaborative strategies and a unified approach to combat the growing threat of AMR and safeguard public health.

The workshop has brought together officials and policymakers from 16 countries namely, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The meeting aims at reviewing the current AMR stewardship regional guidance document including AMS and AMR surveillance assessment tools.

Attendees are also calling for collaborations in Africa, for region-specific approaches to implement National Antimicrobial Stewardship programs and deploy antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance systems.

Additionally, the meeting aims to share best practices in implementing Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs and developing strategies for the deployment of AMR Surveillance Systems, identifying regional priorities for AMS & AMR Surveillance, and strengthening collaboration through establishing a regional AMR technical working group among the participating countries.

In her opening remarks, Cabinet Secretary of Health, Nakumicha S. Wafula, emphasized the urgency of collective efforts to address AMR. Acknowledging the grave global threat posed by AMR, East, and Southern African nations have recognized the pressing nature of the issue within the region.

“We must place antimicrobial stewardship at the forefront of our strategies with an emphasis on the responsible use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents to preserve their efficacy for current and future generations,” CS Nakhumicha said.

The CS advocated for a comprehensive One-Health Approach, integrating efforts across human health, animal health, and the environment, to prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance while promoting responsible use of antibiotics.

Furthermore, the Cabinet Secretary stressed the importance of continued collaboration with international partners and the global community to effectively combat this global crisis.

Building resilient systems to combat the ever-growing concern of AMR in Africa

Africa CDC outlines that a clear link has been shown between the misuse of antimicrobials and the emergence of AMR. 

However, owing to the limited capacity of health systems and technological hurdles, comprehensive and robust AMR, antimicrobial use (AMU), and antimicrobial consumption (AMC) data is lacking in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and there remains significant uncertainty as to the burden of drug resistance.

According to experts, AMR poses a significant global threat to public health, causing prolonged illness, increased mortality rates, and higher healthcare costs, and addressing it requires a collaborative approach in the implementation of robust antimicrobial stewardship programs.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.

As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

Africa CDC is developing AMR surveillance strategies in line with WHO’s five global objectives of the Global Action Plan on AMR prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance.

Moreover, strategic objectives in five areas namely, public awareness and evaluation, surveillance and monitoring, infection prevention and control, appropriate use of antimicrobials, research and development.

Africa CDC has also developed regional guidance documents such as the regional guidance for Antimicrobial Stewardship, and regional guidelines on the treatment of common infections undertaken by multi-country studies on AMR Surveillance capacities.

Moreover, the Africa CDC is pushing for collaboratively implemented regional projects supporting the implementation of the National Action Plans on AMR in the Member States.

Moreso, through its One-Health Approach in integrating efforts across human health, animal health, and the environment to prevent the emergency and spread of AMR while promoting responsible use of antibiotics.

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