ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE British and Northern Ireland governments have given Zambia US$300,000 to boost agriculture through prevention of pests and diseases that are harmful to human beings and the environment.
The money will enable the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Animal Health Organisation and World Health Organisation implement a three-year tripartite global programme on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) project that started this year.
AMR have the ability of a micro-organism like bacteria, viruses and some parasites to stop an anti-microbial such as anti-biotics and anti-virals from working against it.
During the launch of the AMR project, Secretary to Cabinet Roland Msiska said on Tuesday that there is need for all stakeholders to work together to raise awareness of AMR by developing communication and advocacy products that target different sectors.
Dr Msiska said addressing AMR is a shared global, regional and national responsibility that requires all sectors and stakeholders to mobilise around the ‘One Health Approach’ for the prevention and containment of public health.
“Anti-microbials are extensively being used in animal health, agriculture and the environment sectors. This has enabled us to increase food production thereby ensuring food security.
“However, the use of anti-microbials in all sectors has come along with the rise in anti-microbial resistance. If we fail to act, we will go back into the dark ages of medicine where the treatable infections and injuries will kill once again, and scarcity of food will hound us,” he said.
The AMR project is coiled under the theme ‘Engaging the food and agriculture sectors in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-east Asia in the global efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance using a ‘One Health approach’.
Earlier, FAO representative Mtendere Mphatso said the organisation recognises the critical role that anti-microbial drugs play in achieving food and nutrition security of a country.
“Currently, it is estimated that up to 700,000 people die each year due to AMR-related causes and it is projected that by 2050 AMR could cause more than 10 million human fatalities with the majority of them being in developing countries and economic losses of more than US$100 trillion annually,” Mr Mphatso said.