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Antimicrobial resistance

Commonwealth antimicrobial stewardship partnerships announced

Multidisciplinary teams including pharmacists will partner with healthcare institutions in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia to share skills and develop systems for antimicrobial surveillance. 

Antimicrobial surveillance members during RPS summit

Source: Chloe Tuck, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association

Meeting at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Science and Research Summit (left to right); Samrina Bhatti, Commonwealth Antimicrobial Stewardship Partnerships pharmacist; Philip Howard, president of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy; Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England; and Commonwealth Pharmacists’ Association team members Chloe Tuck, Sarah Cavanagh and Diane Ashiru-Oredope

A total of 12 pharmacy-led teams from the UK are set to work with their counterparts in 4 African Commonwealth countries in a bid to exchange expertise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) stewardship.

The Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship teams were announced by the Department for Health and Social care (DHSC) on 12 February 2019. Led by the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) and Tropical Health Education Trust (THET), the initiative will see the 12 multidisciplinary teams from the UK partner with healthcare institutions in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia. The partnerships will focus on promoting the rational use of antimicrobials and on developing systems for surveillance of antimicrobial use.

In a statement, the CPA said there will also be benefits to the NHS as pharmacists working on the projects, who will develop skills in global health and in “frugal innovation from working [in] low-resource settings”. The teams will receive training over the next month and will then be deployed to their partner countries.

The new partnerships are financed by the Fleming Fund as part of a wider commitment by the UK government to spend up to £265m supporting AMR surveillance in low- and middle-income countries by 2021.

Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Science and Research Summit, held in London on 8 February 2019, Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said that “as we steadily roll out the programmes, [the Fleming Fund is] going to have a big impact in low-income countries, because it’s helping them get data. And how can you decide what to do if you don’t have data?

“The THET Commonwealth Pharmacists Partnership is an exciting one — £1.3m is not insignificant. We’ll evaluate it and see how it goes: I’m sure that it’ll be a success and then we can continue.”

In the statement released by the DHSC, Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, said that “the UK has a lot to share in antimicrobial stewardship and it’s encouraging to see such an interest in sharing learning between the NHS and the partner countries”.

The full list of partnerships can be viewed on the CPA website.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206157

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