By ZACHERY PER
AN estimated 500,000 people die every year as a result of developing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to the overuse, underuse and misuse of human and veterinary medicines, according to reports from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
This staggering figure was revealed in Goroka during a one-day workshop conducted by PNG One Health Country Programme (OHCP) on Thursday.
Participants agreed that the revelation of around half a million deaths annually from AMR in developing countries was a problem that needed addressing.
National Agriculture Quarantine Inspections Authority (Naqia) representive Martin Paina said pests could develop resistance to pesticides, weeds could develop resistance to weedicides and resistance could be passed from animals to environment and on to humans.
He said collaborative effort from all relevant stakeholders was needed to address medicines becoming resistance.
FAO representative Dr Nime Kapo said the One Health (OH) approach is to help improve food safety and nutrition with regards to the importation of chemicals and medicines for health, agriculture and veterinary uses.
He said the country had developed a National Action Plan for AMR but was only endorsed by the public health sector and pending endorsement by the agriculture and environment sectors.
Kapo was concerned that medicines for veterinary clinics were ordered and procured together with human medicines by the Department of Health but this had been overlooked for years.
“There is a policy in place for importing of medicines for both clinics (animals and humans) but has been fragmented and needs to be revisited.”
The OH approach is now being piloted for milk and eggs in Lae, crops and stock feed in Port Moresby and aquaculture and apiculture in Goroka.
The programme is spearheaded by Department of Agriculture and Livestock in collaboration with FAO, Naqia and Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (Cepa).
It was launched after inception on March 27 under the Asia-Pacific Regional One Health Initiative.
OHCP comprises two components – policy and field case studies
By ZACHERY PER