Nigeria ranks among the countries hardest hit by drug-resistant superbugs, posing a significant threat to the global economy.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 22, 2023
Updated 2023/11/22 at 10:07 AM

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) could lead to a global loss of up to US$100 trillion in gross domestic product by 2050, with the most significant negative impact on low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control conveyed this alarming projection during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) in a statement on Monday.

AMR, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve over time, rendering them unresponsive to medicines. This phenomenon makes infections more challenging to treat, escalating the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death. The diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines due to drug resistance further compounds the problem, rendering infections increasingly difficult or even impossible to address.

According to the WHO, 15 priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens pose the most significant threat to human and animal health, with four of them identified in Nigeria. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control underscored that the repercussions of AMR extend beyond health, significantly impacting the economy, health systems, and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Each year, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is responsible for a direct toll of 1.27 million deaths, with an associated 3.7 million deaths. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including Nigeria, bear the brunt, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the direct death toll. Children under five constitute over 99.5 percent of AMR-related deaths, surpassing the mortality rates of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and most cancers, excluding lung cancer.

In Africa, western Africa carries the highest burden of AMR-related deaths, reaching 27.3 deaths per 100,000 people, establishing it as a super region for fatalities due to drug-resistant pathogens.

Antimicrobial agents play a crucial role in ensuring food security, and global antimicrobial consumption is projected to surge by 70% by 2030. Without intervention, this trend threatens sustainable food production systems.

Since 2017, Nigeria has taken steps to address AMR, establishing an AMR surveillance network, implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs, and raising awareness through various initiatives targeting healthcare professionals, farmers, and the general public.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Technical Working Group (AMR-TWG) in Nigeria aligns with the global effort to highlight the risks associated with the misuse or overuse of antimicrobials. The group aims to foster collaboration across sectors to safeguard the effectiveness of these critical medicines.


Emphasizing the global nature of the effort against AMR, it underscores the importance of adopting a One Health approach to effectively combat this threat. Collaboration across all sectors is essential, promoting the responsible use of antimicrobials and preventive measures.

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