Indeed, One Health is the way to go

Monday December 24 2018

A chart explaining how AMR spreads. PHOTO |

A chart explaining how AMR spreads. PHOTO | WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION 

By Nelly Bosire

An article in Your Health magazine last month, titled: One Health: Why Tanzanian scientists must unite, prompted me to go deeper and make an analysis on this topic—Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

For starters, AMR means when microscopic organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi change in ways that render ineffective the medication used in curing the infections they cause.

It was so encouraging to learn that experts such as Prof Robinson Mdegela from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), are on top of the fight against AMR.

He spoke, in Your Health, about the need for scientists to unite, but before that, I had paid attention to his remarks as he elaborated during the Cuhas- Bugando Scientific Conference.

Prof Mdegela said, “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) does not recognise geographical borders or human-animal borders, it’s a global threat which keeps on expanding daily, there is no way that this problem can be solved in an isolation manner but rather by coordination, this is why we need to attach to One health Approach.”

Basically, there is a growing need for professionals from different fields to come together in order to seek sustainable solutions for various global challenges. One Health Approach policy was officially launched in Tanzania in 2018.

Let’s clear the misconception

I have also noted the confusion which exists among many professionals concerning the One Health Approach, especially what some of the professionals think when talking about it.

It does not mean that a person needs to spend most his/her life time studying to accumulate various skills, studying to be a Doctor of Medicine, then go for Bachelor of Pharmacy, there after he/she goes again for Nursing studies and so on, this is totally opposite from the true meaning of One Health Approach.

One Health Approach ought to mainly improve the interdisciplinary strategy. This means that there should be a strong interaction among different sectors regardless of their titles when fighting against AMR.

One Health Approach call upon all sectors, law, finance, health and all other institutions to seek the proper solutions.

Why antimicrobial resistance exists?

Drivers for AMR are mainly behavioural practices from both health professionals and their clients/patients. Over- prescription, wrong prescription, use of incomplete dose, sharing of antibiotics and progressively use of antibiotics in animals are some of the acts which in fact propel the expansion of AMR among us as sited out through various researches.

What can be done

Rectification of these behaviors needs a proper collaboration, communication and an outstanding coordination among health professionals and all other professionals together with their clients throughout the globe, these three pillars are to be implemented from the family level to the whole community.

Global Action plan suggests methods through which we can combat the AMR challenge under One Health Approach, as these methods are being adopted by other countries then Tanzania as well should join the race as strongly pointed out by Prof. Mdegela;

• Improve awareness and understanding across sectors.

• Strengthen knowledge and evidence base surveillance and researches across sectors.

• Reduce incidence of infection.

• Optimise or rationalise the use of Antibiotics.

• Sustainable investment.

Agricultural sector more specifically livestock keeping was mentioned to be among the crucial points in battle against AMR since it’s among the places where Antibiotics use is highly encouraged.

One Health Approach aims at eliminating these invisible barriers so as to make sure there is no any angle through which AMR can spread furthermore.

The author is based at Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences.