This week Uganda joins the rest of the World to celebrate Veterinary Week April 24 – 29, 2017 under the theme: “Antimicrobial Resistance: From awareness to action”.
You may note the following, that:
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
- Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
- Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
- A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
- Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.
World Veterinary day (WVD) is an annual event celebrated worldwide, on the last Saturday of April since 2000 spearheaded by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In Uganda, the World Veterinary Week/Day celebrations are organised annually by the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).
This day is celebrated to highlight the contribution of the Veterinary profession in improving people’s livelihoods and the animal sector. Veterinarians work to promote animal health, animal welfare, and public health globally with the understanding that human, animal and environmental health are intricately interconnected, through food, infectious and zoonotic diseases, research to improve human and animal lives, encroachment on wildlife habitat, and the human-animal bond that has existed throughout time.
This year’s theme of“Antimicrobial Resistance: From Awareness to Action” emphasizes availability and use of antibiotic drugs which has transformed the practice of human and animal medicine. Infections that were once lethal are now treatable, and the use of antimicrobial agents has also advanced global health as well as animal health, which is a key component of animal welfare, food security and safety.
Antibiotic resistance is a worldwide problem and new forms of resistance can cross international boundaries and spread between continents. Globally, the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) limits the therapeutic options for treatment of infectious diseases such as Typhoid caused by Salmonella and Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacteria. The global burden of AMR is particularly more pressing in developing countries where infectious disease burden is high and the cost constraints make newer and more expensive antimicrobial agents unaffordable to majority of the affected populations.
In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require prolonged and or costly treatments, extended hospital stays, necessitate additional doctor visits and healthcare use besides resulting into greater disability and death compared to infections that are easily treatable with antibiotics. The control and treatment of infectious diseases that are the leading causes of human deaths in developing countries is seriously threatened by emergence and increase of AMR.
AMR is a growing problem becoming more prevalent among enteric diarrheal disease-causing pathogens such as Vibrio cholera which causes cholera and Salmonella which causes typhoid. Salmonella outbreaks can be detrimental to dairy producers due to increased treatment costs in clinically infected cows and mortality in some cases. Additionally, infected cattle can shed Salmonella sub-clinically for extended periods after the initial infection which has food safety implications and also undermines the role of livestock farming in contributing towards improving people’s nutritional status, generating income for farmers and improving soil fertility through manure application and providing employment for all actors including traders, processors and retailers along the value chain.
The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance globally. Antibiotics are commonly used in food animals to prevent, control and treat disease and promote growth of food-producing animals.
Safeguarding the efficacy of these life-saving medications, as well as their availability and effectiveness for both human and veterinary use, is essential to preserve our future. However, overuse and misuse of these drugs in humans, animals and plants sectors has dramatically accelerated the emergence of resistance to antimicrobials.
Veterinary Service providers including veterinarians and veterinary para-professionals have a key part to play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, through their role in regulating and supervising the use of antibiotics, offering professional advice to farmers and animal owners as well as collaborating with the human health sector.
Uganda Veterinary Association and MAAIF are collaborating with all 116 District Veterinary Officers (DVOs) throughout the country to organize various activities to commemorate the World Veterinary Week from April 24 – 29, 2017. Some of the planned activities include: educating the farmers and general public radio/TV talk shows, “People’s Parliament”, Press Conferences, Veterinary match, scientific symposia, community outreaches and workshops.
I hereby direct the veterinary service providers both public and private to get out to the public and provide veterinary services by educating the farmers and the public on the proper use of veterinary drugs to make sure that we eradicate the diseases.
To the farmers and general public should always consult the technical people and get technical advice before application of any antibiotics (medicine)
KIBAZANGA MT CHRISTOPHER
MOSA-MAAIF, ENTEBBE UGANDA