The National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Policy recently launched by President Akufo-Addo will fail unless government employs more veterinary professionals.
That is the warning from the Coalition of Unposted and Voluntary Veterinary Technicians in Ghana.
The president launched the policy in line with the Global Action Plan adopted by the 68th World Health Assembly to help contain the phenomenon of Antimicrobial resistance, which is currently affecting both animals and plants and is presently considered a threat to global public health.
But in a statement signed by its spokespersons, Daniel Amoako, the technicians pointed out a lot of the cases of antimicrobial resistance is as a result of high levels of antibiotics in animals consumed by human beings.
They say until enough veterinary professionals are employed, nothing will change.
Below is the full statement
Blame Food and Agriculture for looming public health threat
We, the members of the group wish to commend Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana for launching the National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Policy.
As veterinary public health professionals who are well informed about the current harm that antimicrobial resistance is causing in humans, the preparation of this policy document is timely.
Although we also believe that the road map to tackling the devastating effect of antimicrobial resistance in Ghanaians is long overdue, but we highly appreciate the efforts of all stakeholders whose inputs developed the policy direction.
However, the success of the implementation of the policy on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use would be a mirage due to the poor handling of animal health.
This bad handling of the health of meat-producing animals is attributed to MOFA’s neglect of ensuring that veterinary technicians are posted.
The situation has resulted in poorly resourced veterinary service with very poor veterinary outlets distributed in Ghana.
Meanwhile, consumption of meat, fish, poultry and their products accounts for a higher percentage of antimicrobial resistance in humans due to high traces of antibiotics in livestock, poultry and fish.
In the midst of all these public health concern, there is 640 backlog of veterinary professionals of various categories without job placement since 2011.
These technical hands could have helped to save the current phenomenon of humans not responding to treatments by the use of some common antibacterials, antivirals, antifungals and antimalarials.
The recent challenge of antimicrobial resistance is so alarming that, treatments of gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, typhoid and other infections are becoming an ineffective day in and day out.
Hence the fight against these diseases and emerging infections is almost becoming a lost battle.
Again, in the face of this growing public health implications, all attempts to get the ministry of food and agriculture to resolve the postings of veterinary technicians so as to safeguard the Ghanaian public health, has yielded no positive results.
We keep on hearing promise upon promise with no backing action. The recent non-fulfilling and most disappointing promise came from the minister of state in charge of agriculture, Dr. Gyieleh Nurah.
He categorically stated that the recruitment of vets would start in January 2018. But here we are today without even a single employed vet.
By this statement, we are reminding the Honorable minister of state to honour his own words or we throng his office in numbers and humbly demand answers.
We state without any equivocation that, we shall storm MOFA in one of the coming 14 days and ask why veterinary technicians have not been posted to help control antimicrobial resistance in humans through animals.
We plead with all stakeholders and Ghanaians to support us in our quest to make the Ghanaian society a healthy system or environment.