By Iyemah David
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), in collaboration with the Commonwealth Pharmacist’s Association (CPA) and the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), officially launched the second phase of the Commonwealth Partnership for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) in Nigeria.
The programme is part of the 4.6-million-pound fund from the UK government’s Fleming Fund to support hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) to implement antimicrobial stewardship through partnerships with UK-based hospitals from June 2023 to July 2025.
In his opening remarks in Abuja on Friday, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to CPA and THET for considering the country for the initiative.
Adetifa said that the partnership projects would leverage on the expertise of UK health institutions to provide technical support and experience sharing.
This, he said, would go a long way to strengthen the local capacity of healthcare workers on antimicrobial stewardship (AMS).
“On Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) which is of great global concern, Health economists estimate that by 2050, AMR could result in US$100 trillion loss in economic activity and up to 10 million deaths annually if current trends continue.
AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines.
He said “these grants will, therefore, focus on driving best practices in AMS, building pharmacy capacity and expertise, strengthening surveillance, and reducing the emergence and spread of AMR in Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
He called on the five beneficiary hospitals, namely Babcock University Teaching Hospital (BUTH), University Teaching Hospital Enugu, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), and University College Hospital Ibadan (UCH), to maximize the opportunity to improve general healthcare and patient outcomes through AMS.
He assured them of the NCDC’s continued support for sustainability.
The representative of the National Oversight Mechanisms for the CwPAMS, Prof. Oladipo Aboderin, congratulated the five-grant holders and urged them to deploy the grant to a sustainable antimicrobial stewardship programme in their various facilities.
Aboderin also urged them to align their activities with the national strategy for proper coordination.
While delivering Nigeria’s situation at the event, the AMR programme manager, Dr Abiodun Egwuenu, stated that about 4.95 million people died from drug-resistant infections globally in 2019.
“AMR directly caused 1.27 million deaths, among them 1 in 5 children under five years of age.
“In Nigeria, 64,500 deaths are attributable to AMR; 263,400 deaths associated with AMR with 185 of 204 highest age-standardized mortality rate/100,000 population associated with AMR.
“Currently, over 40 healthcare facilities are implementing AMS, supported by the Nigerian Government and partners,” Egwuenu said.
Mashood Lawal, the in-country coordinator for the commonwealth pharmacist association, gave a brief overview of the project in Nigeria.
Lawal said that the CwPAMS approach was a model of Health Partnerships, long-term relationships between UK and LMIC health institutions, which improve health services through the reciprocal exchange of skills, knowledge, and experience.
“At the heart of our work is the vision of a world where everyone has access to healthcare.
“Some of the expected outcomes of the CwPAMS grant-2 implementation by the five hospitals include the use of quality antimicrobial consumption data to develop AMS interventions, improved structures, knowledge, and practice related to AMS through a One Health approach in line with AMR National Action Plans.
“Other outcomes indicators are evidence-informed health policy and programming, Strong, resilient, and integrated health systems with AMS practices embedded and optimized use of antimicrobial medicines,” he said.