by Samwel Doe Ouma

Kenya and 24 other countries are set to benefit from the UK government AMR funding package that will help in upgrading state-of-the-art microbiology laboratories, cutting-edge disease surveillance systems, and build health workforce capacity to tackle deadly antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

According to a press statement released by UK government, a total £210 million funding – from the government’s UK aid budget – will also support the Fleming Fund’s activities to tackle AMR in countries across Asia and Africa over the next three years, helping to reduce the threat it poses globally.

UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, said in a press release issued on Wednesday that antimicrobial resistance is a silent killer which poses a significant threat to people’s health around the world.

“It’s vital it is stopped in its tracks and this record funding will allow countries most at risk to tackle it and prevent it from taking more lives across the world,” Barclay said in the press statement.

Around 1.27 million people around the world die each year due to AMR – where bacteria have evolved so much that antibiotics and other current treatments are no longer effective against infections – with 1 in 5 of those deaths in children under 5.

The money will support the delivery of 20,000 training sessions for health workforce from laboratory professionals to pharmacists and hospital staff.

This will be in addition to more than 200 new Fleming Fund scholarships to promote expertise in microbiology, AMR policy and One Health – an approach that recognizes the connection between humans, animals and ecosystems.

The Fleming Fund is a charity that supports low- and middle-income countries to generate and use data to improve antimicrobial use and encourage investment in AMR.

The UK grant is also meant to boost investments in new genome sequencing technology which will help track bacterial transmission between humans, animals and the environment.

According to the press release, Dame Sally Davies, UK special envoy on anti-microbial resistance, said “This world-leading investment in AMR laboratories, workforce and systems is a vital contribution to realize our vision of a world free of drug-resistant infection.”

The pledge by UK government is the largest ever investment in global AMR surveillance by any country.

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