As part of commemorating the 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), the Society for Applied Microbiology sponsored a webinar on "Operationalizing One-Health Interventions on Antimicrobial Use (AMU) and Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) in Nigeria". This theme was drafted from the 2020 WAAW slogan – "Antimicrobials: handle with care". early career scientists (ECS) from Nigeria working in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and one-health related areas put together the webinar led by two ECS - Chioma Achi and Ayobami Olaniyi.
A one-health approach is required and necessary to tackle the increasing rise and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. Like many other countries, Nigeria has put together a national action plan on AMR with the overall aim of reducing the spread of resistant pathogens and optimising use of antimicrobials. To achieve this there have to be concerted efforts for experts and professionals from all AMR related areas to work together from a one-health approach and not in isolation.
The two-day webinar took place on the 18 and 20 of November, bringing together stakeholders and experts from academia and program managers from government institutions in Nigeria and over 120 participants from various disciplines. The webinar created an opportunity to highlight the progress made so far around AMR and one-health, specifically around antimicrobial use and antimicrobial stewardship in Nigeria. Panellists were drawn from across different sectors. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation country office, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Environment, University College Hospital and Universities across Nigeria contributed to the panel discussion.
The panellists discussed the need to underscore the importance of one-health local actions for optimal antibiotic use and the need for an effective bottom-up approach. The webinar provided an opportunity for an extensive discussion on antimicrobial usage, antimicrobial stewardship and AMR drivers in the country. Participants brainstormed ways of tackling the current challenge from a cross-sectoral approach taking into consideration practical country-specific approaches.
The second day of the webinar was explicitly organised for ECS from within and outside Nigeria. The ECS session hosted participants from across disciplines - medicine, veterinary medicine, environment, social science and anthropology. ECS were distributed into six break-out rooms taking into account the need to have representation from across disciplines. The session provided an opportunity for ECS to share any challenges encountered in initiating or implementing collaboration with colleagues or peers from across the one-health sector and how we can overcome these in the future.
Most importantly, the ECS session encouraged participants to leverage existing one-health efforts in the country and engender cross-sector collaborations for AMR. The ECS break-out session opened up an opportunity to establish a countrywide multi-disciplinary ECS network on AMR. The plans ahead for this network is to collaboratively work on projects and hold scheduled seminars and invited talks going forward in order to strengthen the contributions of ECS to AMR and one-health in the country.
The webinar's main points are currently being developed into a "White paper" that can provide strategic, actionable points that will inform policy in the country.
We are grateful to SfAM for the support provided by the Scientific Meeting Support Grant.
Chioma Achi and Ayobami Olaniyi