ZIMBABWE – The Republic of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), to build the capacity to manage antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance data and to track antimicrobial resistance in the country.
Zimbabwe partnered WHO to train 60 training of trainers (ToTs) from the Ministries of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development (MoLAFWRD) and Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (METHI).
WHO is also supporting Zimbabwe in setting up strong AMR governance structures, setting up National Hospital Acquired Infection surveillance, providing a legal framework for One Health work in Zimbabwe, and reviewing National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines.
WHO said the training introduced WHONET software, an essential data tool developed for the management and analysis of microbiology laboratory data with a special focus on the analysis of antimicrobial susceptibility test results.
The training focused on data management and analysis and how to detect alerts when it comes to microbiology which may arise due to pathogen resistance to antibiotics as well as the critical linkages between the human and animal interface and the need to strengthen health systems.
The ToTs are expected to cascade the training to other cadres within AMR surveillance facilities across the country to promote systematic collection and analysis of data.
WHO highlighted that surveillance is a vital tool to provide crucial information that shapes the public health interventions, noting that sturdy information management systems are crucial for analysing and managing data from multisector antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems.
The agency further said that the data tool is paramount for enhancing the use of surveillance data for local needs and for promoting collaborations and data sharing at the national particularly District Health Information System, regional and global levels.
With funding from the Fleming Fund, at least 14 laboratories across Zimbabwe were also capacitated to generate AMR surveillance data including five veterinary laboratories, seven for human health, one dedicated towards food and one environment.
The Government of Zimbabwe supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WHO, has also been increasing awareness and understanding of the aspects of antimicrobial use in the agriculture sector and their impact on the environment and humans.
In addition, FAO and WHO continue to provide crucial support to the Government of Zimbabwe to strengthen their AMR surveillance, develop new training modules, and establish voluntary codes of conduct and best practices in food safety and production.
Dr Raiva Simbi, MoHCC Laboratory Services Director observed that over the past few years, African countries have had diseases such as COVID-19, Marburg disease in Ghana, the monkeypox being recorded in non-endemic countries and the polio outbreak in this region.
Dr Raiva Simbi stressed that disease outbreaks need the African region to work together as One Health, to ensure that the country is prepared to deal with such diseases that have shown the region the critical link between animal, human and environmental health.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance Co-Director John Stelling noted how strategies for the containment of antimicrobial resistance must be based on a thorough understanding of local and national emerging resistance threats.
Co-Director John Stelling stressed that the clinical, public health, animal health, food, and environmental laboratories of Zimbabwe offer a rich source of data for tracking and responding to evolving microbial populations.
“Through this workshop, the participants have acquired knowledge, skills and insights that will prove of great value to healthcare providers, policymakers, and most importantly to patients and animal health in Zimbabwe,” said Stelling.
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