The ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has set up a technical working committee to study and make policy recommendations for antimicrobial resistance in animal health.
Antimicrobial resistance refers to a situation where antibiotics no longer work to kill the germs they were developed to kill, therefore making it hard to treat diseases caused by those organisms.
It is a global problem that could morph into a serious crisis. Dr Rose Ademun, the commissioner in charge of Animal Health, inaugurated the committee that is chaired by Dr Deo Ndumu, the assistant commissioner for Disease Control.
The committee, which has a two-year mandate, will oversee the implementation of the antimicrobial resistance national action plan in the animal sub-sector and will work alongside similar committees in the ministries of Health and Water and Environment as well as the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Each of these sectors will report back to the Health ministry and implement interventions. According to committee member Dr Emmanuel Isingoma, a veterinary officer in the department of Animal Health, surveillance is being done to establish resistance patterns in the country.
“The group is supposed to approve the technical aspects of the work like methodol-ogy, findings and make recommendations to the commissioner. Some recommendations can be of policy nature that require writing policy briefs to intervene against antimicrobial resistance,” he says.
MOST COMMON RESISTANCES
Dr Isingoma adds that Uganda is experiencing resistance of disease-causing organisms to the most commonly used antibiotics tetracycline and penicillin.
“It is even a bigger problem in the human health sector where some of the drugs used to treat in the hospitals are not working in humans. Even in animals, a similar pattern is developing…so far, tetracycline is not working the way it is supposed to,” he notes.
The activities of the committee are supported by the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) with funding from the Fleming Fund.