The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has raised concern over antibiotics used in animals and plants purchased off the counter in Nigeria without expert prescription.
FAO says this is coupled with the absence of statutory legislation to restrict the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters.
Mr David Fehintola, FAO Country Representative raised the alarm during the inauguration of the world Antimicrobial Awareness Week on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, in Nigeria, antibiotics used in animals and plants are purchased off the counter without expert prescription.
He noted that though the importation of antibiotics used as growth promoters in food and animals had been prohibited by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said however that FAO and World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that currently at least 700,000 people die globally every year due to drug-resistant diseases.
“Within the next 10 years, antimicrobial used for livestock alone is projected to nearly double to keep pace with the demands of our growing human population”.
He said livestock production in low-income countries could decline by up to 11 per cent by 2050 because of Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR), adding that if left unaddressed AMR could cause 10million deaths by 2050.
He said this would be more than 10 times higher than the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, adding that if the trend went unchecked, drug-resistant infections could join pandemics, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Fehintila said that in Nigeria, with technical support of FAO, the National Action Plan (NAP) to ensure effective surveillance and control of AMR and antimicrobial use in the country had been developed and adopted.
He said that it was a positive development toward achieving its main goal, adding that more efforts were needed to streamline guidelines for effective AMR through implementation of NAP.
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono said the main aim of the week was to raise awareness on the health threats posed by AMR.
Nanomo said that it was also meant to promote good practices that would limit the emergence and spread of resistant infectious globally.
According to him, antibiotics used in agriculture have been found to be a major driver of AMR with consequences of human health, animal health, plant health and food safety.