The Chief Administrative Secretary for Health Dr. Rashid Aman has today launched the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week to increase awareness of antimicrobial resistance to avoid further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
The awareness program will also encourage best practices among general public, health workers and policy makers.
This year’s awareness week theme is ‘United to Prevent drug resistance’ and the focus is on changing from “antibiotics” to the more encompassing and inclusive term “antimicrobials.”
The current Coronavirus disease pandemic has posed potential threats that could affect antimicrobial stewardship activities and drive antimicrobial resistance.
For instance disruptions to health services during the pandemic are causing interruptions to treatments, such as for tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus, which can also lead to selection for drug resistance.
“Studies indicate that many patients diagnosed with mild COVID-19 disease received antibiotics even when there is no accompanying pneumonia or indication for this”, Dr. Aman said.
Similarly, disruption to vaccination services can increase risk of infection, potentially leading to an overuse of antimicrobials.
“Kenya is no exception to the threat of AMR with increasing rates of resistance being reported in our hospitals and communities,” he added.
In recognition of this threat, the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, livestock, and fisheries embarked on a process to consolidate efforts to implement sustainable measures to mitigate any further emergence and spread of AMR.
Using this one-health approach, the Ministries jointly developed the Policy and National Action Plan.
This policy aims to “reduce the burden of AMR and promote prudent use of antimicrobial agents to ensure that, for as long as possible, there is continued successful treatment and prevention of microbial diseases with effective, quality assured and safe antimicrobials, accessible to all who need them”.
He also launched the AMR Surveillance Training curriculum together with the training manuals for facilitators and participants.
This will provide a timely tool to guide systematic strengthening of knowledge and skills development among all individuals involved in AMR prevention and control including leadership and governance, clinical practice and laboratory detection, and surveillance data management in both the human and animal health sectors.