The Hon. Minister Health, Prof. CO Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that Federal Government
of Nigeria has ·provided a remedy to drugs resistance that occur when microorganism change
and render medications used to cure the infection ineffective.
The Minister made this known in Abuja Thursday at a Press briefing to commemorate
the 2011 World Health Day in Abuja. He said that drugs resistance occur as a result of
widespread use, misuse and abuse of drugs in both humans and animals. It includes wrong
diagnosis, use of fake, substandard drugs and expired drugs.
However, the Minister said Federal Government in collaboration with partners have initiated
measures to combat the menace of drugs resistant.
He said that Federal Government recently launched Artimisini- Combination Therapy (ACT)
under the Affordable Medicine Facility for malaria (AMFm) due to the fact that malaria
resists Chloroquine treatment. When Artemesinin is combined with other anti-malarials, it
is far more effective. He said. “We are encouraging the use of combination therapy in the
treatment of malaria tuberculosis and HIV /AIDS instead of monotherapy, Government is
making these drugs available and accessible to the public” the Minister said. The Minister
further said that Government is providing money for the treatment of multidrug resistant for
tuberculosis (TB) so as to prevent its spread. He said that Centres have been established in
Ibadan, Calabar and Zaria where cases could be treated.
Speaking on HIV/AIDS, the Minister also said that drug combination therapy is encouraged
in order to reduce resistance. He said that Federal Government has decentralized treatment
centres to communities to ensure accessibility.
He said presently there are about 53 treatment centres nationwide and there is plan to increase
the centres to cover the 774 Local Government Areas of the Country.
In his remark, the World Health Organizations (WHO) representative, Dr David Okello said
that drug resistance is a growing threat to achieving global health goals.
He noted that drugs resistance has become a problem to common conditions such as TB,
malaria, HIV/AIDS, Pneumonia, sexually transmitted disease and wound infections.
In case of TB he said it is estimated that globally 440,000 new cases of multi-drugs resistance
emerge annually, causing at least 150,000 deaths.
Speaking on the consequences of drugs resistance, the WHO representative said that more
people will die or suffer prolong illness from infections, control of infectious disease and
epidemics become difficult and expensive.
According to the WHO, inappropriate use of medicines and irrational prescriptions are the
major causes of drug resistance.
“Inappropriate use of medicines means for example when people do not finish their course of
prescribed medicine usually because they have started feeling better, or when a healthcare
professional prescribes antibiotics when they are not needed ,or when a person decides to
diagnose and treat him or herself known as self medication.”
Other causes of drug resistance include; poor supply of essential medicines, sale of drugs
in unauthorized outlets by non professionals, weak surveillance system, and inadequate
laboratory service among others.
WHO recommended the following to address the emerging threat to the global health as a
result of drug resistance.
* Need to develop national plan against antimicrobial resistance.
* Strengthening of disease surveillance and diagnostic laboratory capacity.
* Facilitation of access to quality essential medicines,
* Regulation of the use of medicines and promotion of their rational use.
* Regulation of the use of antimicrobials in animal husbandry and
* Recommendations for fostering innovation and development of new tools.
WHO further urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take a lead in developing and
implementing comprehensive national policies and interventions to prevent drug resistance.
The Organization also urged professionals who prescribe or administer drugs to do so
responsibly and appropriately, adding that general public who use these drugs to obtain them
from licensed professionals and use them exactly as advised.