FDA SUPPORTS FIGHT AGAINST ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE
“When antibiotics came out, nobody could have imagined we will have the resistance problem. We didn’t give bacteria credit for being able to change and adapt so fast”. – Bonnie Bassler
The prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) across the world has become a serious global phenomenon as infections caused by resistant strains of organisms result in life threatening infections which are very costly to treat.
AMR is the ability of a microorganism to counteract the effects of antimicrobial agents administered so that they are no more responsive to antimicrobials of choice, thus their growth is not hindered.
The phenomenon pervades the efficacy of treatment in humans, animals (livestock/fish) as well as the environment. Indiscriminate disposal and use of antimicrobial agents in our water bodies/fauna has also resulted in a gradual increase in a passive consumption of antimicrobials in humans and animals as well.
There are multiple interrelated factors contributing to resistance across all sectors, which require a multi-stakeholder involvement in a concerted effort at tackling resistance with the ‘One Health’ approach. In Ghana, due to the quest to increase food production to meet the needs of the growing population and coupled with related changes in production systems, antimicrobials are used in terrestrial, aquatic, plant and animal production for treatment and non-therapeutic purposes (growth promotion).
At the sixty-eighth (68th) World Health Assembly in May 2015, The Assembly endorsed a global action plan to tackle AMR. The global action plan sets out five strategic objectives as follows:
· Improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance
· Strengthening knowledge through surveillance and research
· Reducing the incidence of infections
· Optimizing the use of all antimicrobial agents
· Development of economic case for increased investment
Between 2015 -2017, Ghana developed a five-year national action plan (NAP) on the fight against AMR which was launched in April 2018. The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has been very instrumental in the development of the NAP and continuous to support its implementation. Under the vibrant leadership of the CEO’s Mrs. Delese A. A. Darko the FDA has inaugurated a five-member Committee to promulgate and implement the FDA’s component of activity implementation of the NAP on AMR in Ghana.
This activity implementation plan amongst other objectives seeks to provide strategies to:
· Promote the responsible use and stewardship of antimicrobials among key stakeholders
· Enhance post-market surveillance on antimicrobial agents for human and veterinary use on the Ghanaian market
· Strengthen the FDA’s regulatory capacity in the detection of antimicrobials and other agrochemicals in foods and foods of animal origin,
· Enhance the Authority’s risk based food safety/antimicrobial resistance vigilance and control and enforce food standards
· Collaborating with other stakeholders to encourage the effective use of vaccines
· Campaign against the use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent diseases in healthy animals
· Strengthen the national surveillance efforts to control antimicrobial residues through enforcement of the maximum residual limits of veterinary antibiotics in animal products
The FDA is committed to implementing strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of antimicrobial resistance in Ghana by ensuring quality, safe and efficacious antimicrobial agents on the Ghanaian market. As an immediate activity, the FDA with support from the Fleming Fund is to set-up a system to capture real-time data on antimicrobial agents (both raw materials and finished products) imported, manufactured, exported or used and/or disposed in Ghana. In this regard, the FDA is one of two regulatory bodies in Ghana to have benefited from the first phase of the Fleming Fund project.
FDA under the tutelage of the CEO has recently gained acceptance to join the International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for the Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products Platform (VICH Platform). Other international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to support the FDA in the quest to fight antimicrobial resistance. The FDA will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to fight the menace of antimicrobial resistance.