The Association of Veterinary Medical Students, University of Ibadan, held her Annual Public Lecture and Award Ceremony on Wednesday, in Ibadan, with a charge on veterinarians to identify strategic roles in antimicrobial stewardship.
Professor Herman Barkema, the Scientific Director of One Health and Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health Consortium at the University Of Calgary, Canada, and Dr. Maimuna Habib, Former Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria were the two scholars who used their professional knowledge to explain the theme “Antimicrobial Resistance, A Looming Pandemic: Roles of Veterinarians in Antimicrobial Stewardship”
The duo spoke on the use of antimicrobials in livestock production, which provides a basis for improving animal health and productivity, which in turn contributes to food security, animal welfare, protection of livelihoods and animal resources.
They both agreed that there is an increasing concern about levels of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria isolated from human, animal, food, and environmental samples. This has been associated with misuse of antimicrobials in livestock production.
The first speaker, Professor Herman Barkema disclosed that antimicrobial resistance is increasing globally due to increased prescription and dispensing of antimicrobials, with estimates of 700,000 to millions of deaths resulting per year, and continues to pose a major public health threat worldwide.
He emphasized that antimicrobial resistance is mainly caused by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials, which lead to microbes either evolving a defence against drugs used to treat the diseases they cause, or certain strains of microbes that have a natural resistance to antimicrobials becoming more prevalent than the ones that are easily defeated with medication.
Barkema stated that overuse of antibiotics especially in agriculture for treatment and as growth promoters in terrestrial and aquatic animal health sectors is not only a major driver for resistance but can lead to challenges of antimicrobial residues in food of animal origin.
“Residues of antimicrobials in foods are capable of being potentially allergenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic. Inadequate clean water and poor biosecurity measures in livestock production increases the risk of disease outbreak and spread which in turn increases the need for antimicrobials. Poor adherence to vaccination against preventable diseases also exposes the livestock to diseases,” He added
While speaking on the roles of veterinarians in antimicrobial stewardship, Dr Maimuna Habeeb, emphasised that veterinarians have important roles in antimicrobial stewardship and this can be achieved through adequate participation.
She stated that a good animal husbandry system such as the provision of nutritious feed and feed that are free of microorganisms and toxins will go a long way in the disease preventive measures
She said: “Ensuring effective vaccination of animals against preventable diseases especially those of bacterial origin such as fowl typhoid, fowl cholera, etc. Vaccines are central to the future success of livestock production.
“Also, veterinarians have the responsibility of guiding their clients on how best to set up biosecurity measures on farms including perimeter fencing, isolation of sick animals, quarantine of new animals before introducing them to the flock or herd, use of disinfectant dips, cleaning and disinfection of farm premises and equipment, traffic control, use of separate farm clothing among others”
She encouraged veterinarians to create awareness and sensitisation of farmers and colleagues on the danger of antimicrobial resistance. She also advised veterinarians to encourage the observance of the withdrawal period before animals are slaughtered or their produce sold for human consumption.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Dean Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Professor Olufunke Ola-Davies stated that while COVID-19 has garnered significant attention from the public and media, antimicrobial resistance is a slow-moving threat to global health that is often overlooked.
She added that antimicrobial resistance has become an indispensable alarming menace to the global community which should be critically examined.
Speaking on the reason for choosing the topic, the Chairperson, Organising Committee, Esther Adesanwo, explained that the main factors contributing to the global spread of antimicrobial resistance can be controlled through the roles being played by veterinarians.
Present at the event includes the Director of Veterinary Services Oyo State, Dr. (Mrs). Laide Azeez, Chairman of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Oyo State Branch, Dr. Moses Arokoyo, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade Investment and Cooperative, Dr Bunmi Babalola among others.
Other activities performed at the event were presentation of awards to invited guests, and keynote speakers, among others.