Inappropriate use of antimicrobials in animals is growing global concern, shows a report released by World Animal Protection ahead of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.
The study done in November and December 2020 consisted of a cross-sectional survey targeting veterinary drug stores (agrovets) , pharmacies, farmers, and the public across 19 counties in Kenya to determine the knowledge and practices on antimicrobial resistance.
It attracted a total of 1,142 participants across 19 counties in Kenya and the study showed that antibiotics were the most sold product in 58% of agrovets and 43% of pharmacies interviewed.
Antibiotic sales contributed significantly to total revenue in both stores, 38.8% in Pharmacies and 30% in Agrovets.
Dairy (49.6%) and poultry (38.9%) farmers were reported as the most frequent consumers of antibiotics.
These two animal species are associated with intensive farming systems that are associated with overuse and misuse of antibiotics to mask poor welfare practices.
Every time an antibiotic is given to an animal or consumed by a human, it is an opportunity for that bacteria present to get used to that antibiotic and possibly mutate to be resistant.
Dr. Victor Yamo, farming campaigns manager, World Animal Protection said: “The main objective of this study was to explore the levels of antimicrobial resistance knowledge and prescribing practices among veterinary and human drug vendors, farmers, and the public.”
He explained that knowledge and practices related to antibiotics among respondents showed significant gaps and needed an urgent effort to mitigate such practices.
According to the experts, antibiotics were the commonly sold product in human and veterinary stores and this contrasts with the low sales of vaccines and other biosecurity measures.
“A concerted effort is urgently needed to sensitise need for responsible use of antibiotics in human and animal health for instance, farmers need to shift from low welfare practices in which antibiotics are misused to cover up poor welfare, and adopt higher animal welfare standards that ensure animals live a healthy life,” he said.