Veterinary services in Manicaland, east of Zimbabwe have warned poultry farmers against the misuse of medicines such as antiretroviral treatment and steroids to boost poultry productivity.
Revelations that poultry farmers are using antiretroviral drugs comes amid a heightened burden of antimicrobial resistance in the country.
Desperate for quick returns, poultry farmers here have also resorted to unorthodox means of treating poultry diseases amid health risks.
Experts also warn that contaminated chicken could already be on the market and being consumed by unsuspecting buyers.
Cathrine Sakupwanya, Veterinary Supervisor Odzi district, east of Zimbabwe said:”Farmers are injecting steroids in chickens so that they grow faster. They were complaining that their counterparts were more competitive on the market.”
Sakupwanya further warned that cases of drug misuse among poultry farmers were rampant.
“These cases are rampant in Manicaland as such the veterinary services always help farmers by prescribing the right doses. We implore farmers to use drugs the right way,” she told TheNewsReportLive.
In the face of the rise in the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the country, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation embarked on strengthening of the country’s AMR surveillance capacity.
Through the renovation and equipping of laboratories in Manicaland, Masvingo and Bulawayo provinces, the UN agency has made strides in lessening drug resistance.
Commenting on the country’s antimicrobial resistance response, medical laboratory scientist, Tawanda Machawira added that through the One Health approach, Zimbabwe was strengthening AMR surveillance in both humans and animals to fight emerging diseases and food safety.
According to the World Health Organisation says that antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections.
Antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spreading to others.
In the wake of a rising AMR burden globally, the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices.