Liberia, Partners Validate National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance in Liberia


Paynesville – The Ministry of Health through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and its partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) have validated the National Action Plan on prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Liberia.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

AMR is the ability of a microorganism like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites to stop an antimicrobial such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarial from working against it.

The validation of the AMR National Action Plan (NAP) comes in the wake of the WHO warning that about 10 million people could die annually by 2050, especially in Africa and Asia if the issue of AMR is not addressed.    

Speaking at the validation workshop of the AMR National Action Plan on Tuesday, June 26 at a local hotel in Paynesville, the One Health National Coordinator, Sonpon Sieh revealed that for the past years, AMR has been a growing threat to effective treatment.

“AMR results in reduced efficacy of antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral and antifungal drugs, making the treatment of patients difficult, costly or even impossible. The impact is felt particularly by vulnerable patients, as it can result in prolonged illness and increased mortality,” he said.

He stated that there is an urgent need to develop a statement on amending the Public Health Law to include the ‘Keep Antimicrobial Effective’ legislation.

He added that the developed protocol for the implementation at pilot site focuses on clinical infection at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.

The AMR Focal Person, Rev. Tijli Tarty Tyee, Sr. said the goal of the plan is to prevent and control the spread of resistant organisms while ensuring continuity of successful treatment and prevention of infectious diseases with effective, safe and quality-assured antimicrobials.

Giving a brief background, Rev. Tyee, Sr. explained that at the 68th World Health Assembly in 2015, member states adopted a resolution to implement the Global Action Plan (GAP) to respond to the serious public health issue of AMR.

For her part, Dr. April Baller, Emergency Preparedness and Response Office of WHO-Liberia office thanked NPHIL and partners for the support towards the process and expressed hope that the five-year plan will effectively be implemented successfully.

The event brought together representatives of government and non-governmental agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture, NPHIL, the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Dr. Ralph W. Jetoh, Deputy Director, Division of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology of NPHIL said due to the significance of the document, NPHIL and its partners will ensure its full implementation the legislation of the AMR.

CDC Country Director, Dr. Desmond E. Williams described the validation of the plan as an important milestone in the development of global health security and not just from Liberia.

He added that in the wake of limited anti-microbial drugs, there is a need for Liberia to join the rest of the world in developing a plan “to overcome this significant potential time bomb that we have in front of all of us.”

The national action plan of the AMR includes strengthening the knowledge and evidence base through surveillance and research, reducing the incidence of infection through effective sanitation, hygiene, and infection prevention measure.

The plan also will include optimizing the use of anti-microbial agents in human and animal health and economic investment for sustainability and innovations.