On August 16, 2023, the government of the United Kingdom has stated that it will support Africa and Asia with up to £210 million of funding in order to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This was revealed in a statement stating that the funding is from the aid budget and will support the Fleming Fund’s activities to tackle antimicrobial resistance over the next three years. The statement added that the fund will bolster the surveillance capacity in up to 25 countries where the threat and burden of AMR is highest, with more than 250 laboratories set to be upgraded.
According to the statement, the investment includes new genome sequencing technology which will help track bacterial transmission between humans, animals and the environment. It will also strengthen the international health workforce by supporting 20,000 training sessions for laboratory staff, pharmacists and hospital staff, and over 200 Fleming Fund scholarships to boost expertise in microbiology, AMR policy and One Health. In some places, bacteria have evolved so much that antibiotics and other current treatments are no longer effective against infections.
Millions die yearly around the world due to it.
Antimicrobial resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. This means that the germs are not killed and they continue to grow. Resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat. Additionally, it has the potential to affect people at any stage of life, as well as the healthcare, veterinary, and agriculture industries. This makes it one of the world’s most urgent public health problems.
It kills at least 1.27 million people each year worldwide and is associated with nearly 5 million deaths in 2019. In these cases, one in five of those deaths are in children under the age of five. In the United States, more than 2.8 million AMR infections occur each year. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Threats Report, more than 35,000 people die as a result.
UK state secretary says it must be stopped.
This is excluding the Clostridioides difficile, a bacterium that is not typically resistant but can cause deadly diarrhea and is associated with antimicrobial use. When its statistics are added to these, the U.S. toll of all the threats in the report exceeds 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths. The UK statement also said, “In 2019, AMR was found to have caused between 7,000 and 35,000 deaths in the UK alone.” Recently, the world experienced the antibiotic-resistant coronavirus, which grounded the world to a halt and proved that world governments must do something about it.
Steve Barclay, UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, noted that it is vital that antimicrobial resistance is stopped in its tracks. He said AMR is a silent killer which poses a significant threat to people’s health around the world and in the UK. He revealed that it will be an important topic at the G20 meeting in India. “It also builds on work the government is doing to incentivize drug companies to develop new antibiotics — a model which some G20 countries are looking to implement,” he said.
High Commission disclosed Nigeria would benefit from the fund.
On X (formerly known as Twitter), the UK High Commission in Nigeria has posted that Nigeria would benefit from the fund. “Great to have Nigeria benefit from £210 million of #UKaid through the Fleming Fund to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR),” the message read. If antibiotics and antifungals lose their effectiveness, we collectively lose the ability to treat infections and control these public health threats. Thus, a breakthrough in effectively tackling AMR will reduce the number of deaths from it and prevent infections in many cases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Website