Kenya should prioritize enactment of forward-looking policies and regulations aimed at boosting prudent use of antibiotics and avert their resistance to disease causing pathogens, a campaigner said on Wednesday ahead of 2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week slated from Nov. 18 to 24.
Victor Yamo, Farming Campaigns manager at World Animal Protection African Office stressed that policy reforms, research and public awareness are key to combating antimicrobial resistance amid threat to Kenya’s public health system.
“We require policies and regulations that promote appropriate use of antibiotics in key sectors like agriculture and livestock, and minimize their resistance to disease causing vectors,” said Yamo.
He said that regulators, industry and consumer lobby groups had an obligation to sensitize the public on responsible use of antibiotics to help avert risks to human and environmental health.
Yamo emphasized that unregulated use of antibiotics in Kenya’s rapidly growing industrial livestock sector was undermining animal welfare besides compromising the health of local communities and their habitats.
According to Yamo, some of the antibiotics used to treat livestock diseases have found their way into landfills, thereby contaminating soil and underground water sources.
He stressed that environmentally friendly rearing practices for domestic animals will minimize spread of pathogens, and avert use of antibiotics that are costly and harmful to farmers’ health.
A study conducted by World Animal Protection in 19 out of 47 Kenyan counties from November to December 2020 revealed that inappropriate use of antibiotics in the country’s livestock sector was rampant.
The study which targeted agro-dealers, pharmacists, farmers and consumers revealed that use of antibiotics in the dairy and poultry sub-sectors had reached worrying levels.
According to the study, antibiotics were the most sold product in the agro-dealer outlets standing at 58 percent and their demand by dairy and poultry farmers stood at 49.6 and 38.9 percent respectively.