Antimicrobial Resistance: The Quintessential One Health Issue

Professor Oladipo Aboderin

Professor of Clinical Microbiology & Deputy Provost, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University.

Antibiotics are cornerstones of modern medicine and have positively impacted healthcare delivery in the last 80 years.Emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance are undermining the integrity of the cornerstones and threatening to crumble the whole structure of medical practice. Thus the gains from antibiotics are being eroded and reversed, portending a return to the pre-antibiotic era.

Costs and implications of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are enormous with 214,000 neonatal deaths attributable to resistance in low- and middle-income countries annually. Estimates of deaths resulting from untreatable infections in US and Europe are 23,000 and 25,000 per annum respectively. Corresponding data from Nigeria are currently lacking.

Globally, if there are no effective interventions, by 2050, 10 million deaths and a cost of $100 trillion annually will be attributable to AMR. As the quintessential One Health issue, antimicrobial resistance spans human, animal and environmental domains. Finding solutions will require a coordinated approach across sectors including humans, agriculture and environment.

Sustained effective actions and engagement with multi-sectorial participations are required at global, national, institutional, community and personal levels to preserve the common good, antibiotics. Nigeria has taken the bull by the horn by signing on to the United Nations political declaration on antimicrobial resistance, setting up a multisectorial coordination mechanism, performing a situation analysis and developing a National Action Plan for the control of resistance. The stage is set to begin to walk the talk and implement the National Action Plan.