Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Govt. to regulate use of germicides

Botswana is working on a regulation for monitoring the handling and application of antimicrobials on crops, animals and the environment – Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Karabo Gare has announced.

During the 2020 world antimicrobial awareness week the Minister of Agriculture shared that the new regulations are set to help prevent the use of chemicals to grow food faster and also how antimicrobials should be handled.

Minister Gare said: “The new regulation will make it mandatory for farmers to have proof of use for medicines and also ensure that people are not eating meat that has been chemically induced. The important thing is to ensure that our livestock is not chemically induced and that there are proper records of when antimicrobials were used how they were used. It is not just about following the law it’s about ensuring that people understand that their products are safe for human consumption. These are the things we must learn before new regulations come into effect so that you are not left at a disadvantage.”

Furthermore, the Minister noted that it is important that Botswana learns these changes so that when put into effect, antimicrobials give the best results without health risks.

“It is important to buy antibiotics of high quality and not counterfeit. People must scrutinize antimicrobials to ensure the right the product is used. The issue is not on food sufficiency, it is also about creating jobs and raising the standard of living,” Gare said.

Antimicrobial are front medication in combating a host of disease in humans, animals and crops alike, as well as supporting and enhancing agricultural and environmental practices to reduce risk of disease transfer.

Eight international and regional organizations such as the African Union, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health held a joint stance against Antimicrobial resistance.

The eight organisations shared that the improper use of antimicrobial medicines enables bacteria, viruses, fungi and microscopic parasites to mutate into superbugs that are resistant to the drugs designed to kill them.

These superbugs can travel across countries, resulting in thousands, or potentially millions, of deaths.

Their treatment is resulting in prolonged hospital stays and the need for more expensive medicines, leading to huge additional costs in health expenditure by governments and individuals. The World Bank projects that the additional health care cost by 2050 could be between US$ 0.33 trillion and US$ 1.2 trillion.

Antimicrobials include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and anti-parasitic and are used to prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants. Antimicrobial agents have saved millions of lives and protected animal health and welfare, as well as food security. But their rampant misuse in health settings and agriculture is killing 700 000 people annually around the world. In Africa, research findings estimate that 4.1 million people could die of failing drug treatments by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.

Antimicrobial Resistance in agriculture reduces productivity, hinders the provision of safe food and has a direct impact on food security and sustainability of livelihoods for farming communities. Improper disposal of pharmaceutical, hospital, abattoir, human and animal waste contaminates the environment with antimicrobials and antimicrobial-resistant organisms.

Antimicrobial Resistance is not only a health issue but a complex problem that requires a united multisectoral approach. The six partners making this joint statement represent the public health, agriculture animal health and environmental sectors.


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