KENYA – Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) surveillance and response activities in Africa and Asia will receive a significant boost from the UK government and the Fleming Fund over the next 3 years. 

The UK government and the Fleming Fund have set  US$267.31 million, the largest funding initiative to fight AMR, for the establishment of State of the art laboratories, cutting-edge disease surveillance systems, and a bigger global workforce to tackle deadly AMR.

The fund has identified 25 countries where the threat and burden of AMR is highest including  Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Others are Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New, Guinea, and Vietnam among others.

The investment will include the establishment of genome sequencing technology which will help track bacterial transmission between humans, animals, and the environment.

Moreover, the investment will be utilized in funding more than 20,000 training sessions for laboratory staff, pharmacists, and hospital staff and as will provide 200 Fleming Fund scholarships to boost expertise in microbiology, AMR policy, and One Health.

Also, the fund would build on work that the UK government was doing to incentivize drug companies to develop new antibiotics.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay said in a statement, “Antimicrobial resistance is a silent killer which poses a significant threat to people’s health around the world and in the UK.” 

The Health Secretary added that It was vital that the AMR be stopped, and tracked and the new record funding would allow countries most at risk to tackle it and prevent it from taking more lives across the world, ultimately making us safer at home.

UK Special Envoy on AMR Dame Sally Davies said, “I am proud and delighted that the UK’s Fleming Fund will continue to create real impact to tackle AMR. It will help build pandemic preparedness on the ground across the world, using data to drive action and catalyze investment.”

AMR is on the rise and concerted effort is needed to tackle the impending threat

Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) illustrate how around 1.27 million people around the world die each year due to AMR.

With the most concerning figure is that 1 in 5 of those deaths from AMR globally are in children under 5. 

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been described as an occurrence observed when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death. 

WHO continues that the cost of AMR to national economies and their health systems is significant as it affects the productivity of patients or their caretakers through prolonged hospital stays and the need for more expensive and intensive care. 

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