By Our Reporter
It was a beehive of activities at the College of Agriculture, Lafia, Nasarawa State as the institution joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Antimicrobial Resistance Week which annually comes up every November from 18th to 24th.
On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 the institution became agog in an atmosphere of general festivities as the activities reached a crescendo with a Road Show which set out from the premises of the college situated along Akwanga Road, from where it roared through the heart of the Nasarawa State capital.
The main theme of the Road Show is awareness campaign against misuse and abuse of antibiotics. As the procession snaked through the state capital with the public laud speakers blazing at their peak, the announcer continued to dish out educational, enlightening and informative messages against the vices of misusing and abusing antibiotics. In fact, as the premier tertiary institution in the state directly responsible for the training of agriculture oriented personnel, all forms of research in human and animal sciences with respect to agriculture, it was not surprising that it became the singular institution that participated actively in this year’s occasion.
The Head of Department, Animal Sciences at the college, Dr Musa Muhammad earlier told Nasarawa Eye that the institution was co-opted into the world event rather late by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abuja. Hence, they had to do everything possible to beat the deadline – commencing from November 18. However, by the time the Road Show kicked off from the premises of the College, it was like the whole institute had gathered out for the exercise. Besides, a plethora of media organisations also graced the occasion giving the event a befitting world outlook akin to its name. Already, at the gate of the College flashes of live cameras and video recorders started snapping pictures and recording the beginning of the exercise.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, a lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Mr. Ya’u Isopa Agade, explained that the message of the event is targeted at the general public, including the medics, the vets and the producers of food animals. He urged all to be weary of the relevance of antibiotics for treatment of bacterial related infections only. Mr Isopa Agade called on the government to create laws and policies that would be adhered to strictly by professionals prescribing antibiotics to both animals and humans.
Speaking further, a Veterinarian, Abubakar Ibrahim Zanwa, however maintained that the message on this global event is manifold. Firstly, to the veterinarians/technicians, how do they prescribe the antibiotics? How should the producers adhere to the prescription? And how do you administer the prescription on the animals in particular? “The whole mark of the exercise lies on the food animals,” he explained, “because the medics also consume the meat as well as the general public.” He explained further that, “the residues of these antibiotics reside within the meat, the milk, etc. This makes us exposed to these antibiotics and when you eventually fall ill, your system has already been sensitised, thereby creating resistance.”
Expatiation, Idris Muhammad Bello, also a lecturer at the Animal Sciences Department of the institute, pointed out that basically most of the infections on humans are from animals due to misuse and abuse of antibiotics on animals. He therefore called on the general public to imbibe the culture of proper administration of the antibiotics.
As the procession of the Road Show continued to gather momentum with onlookers, spectators arching for an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what was going on, the ubiquitous announcer continued to urged everyone to be responsible in using antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines: That everyone should take the antibiotics exactly as prescribed by the doctor. No skipping of doses, while completing the full course of treatment even when feeling better. No sharing of antibiotics leftover and No saving of antibiotics for next illness. The procession was well supported by a team of Road Safety Corps members who ensured that the whole exercise was conducted hitch-free.
The Road Show had a brief stop over at the Stadium Junction before proceeding to the centre of the state capital at the main roundabout to the Emir’s Palace Road. The campaign therefore was extended to the market place as the procession passed by the Old Main Market to the gate of Government Science School, Lafia where it had its final stop before heading back to its base, the College of Agriculture.
The annual event owes its origin to the decision by world health professionals at the 68th World Health Assembly in May, 2015. The assembly had then endorsed a global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other Antimicrobial medicines. The exercise aims to increase awareness of global antibiotics resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to prevent further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
The theme of the campaign: “Antibiotics: handle with care”, reflects the dominant message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. This year’s theme of the global event remains, “Antibiotics: Handle with Care” with the addition: “Think Twice. Seek Advice or Pay the Price.”
Hence, as we reflect on this important health campaign courtesy of the College of Agriculture, Lafia, the message is that there is the need to Always Use Antibiotics Responsibly.