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The UK has revealed a funding plan to help countries with high AMR prevalence.

AMR: UK Reveals £210m Funding to Tackle Prevalence Rate

In a bid to tackle the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Nigeria and countries in Africa and Asia, the United Kingdom has disclosed a funding plan of up to £210 million for the construction of state-of-the-art laboratories, cutting-edge disease surveillance systems and a bigger global workforce.

A statement yesterday, signed by the Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office/ British High Commission, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, revealed that the funding from the government’s UK aid budget would 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 to the UK and globally.

According to the statement, the funding would bolster the surveillance capacity in up to 25 countries where the threat and burden of AMR were highest – including Nigeria, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea – with more than 250 laboratories set to be upgraded and provided with state-of-the-art equipment.

“This investment includes new genome sequencing technology which will help track bacterial transmission between humans, animals and the environment.

“The investment 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 – which recognises the connection between humans, animals and the environment.”

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The UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay, was quoted to have said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a silent killer which poses a significant threat to people’s health around the world and here in the UK, and will be an important topic here at the G20 in India.

“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, ultimately making us safer at home. It also builds on work the government is doing to incentivise drug companies to develop new antibiotics – a model which some G20 countries are looking to implement.”

According to the statement, around 1.27 million people around the world die each year due to antimicrobial resistance – where bacteria have evolved so much that antibiotics and other current treatments are no longer effective against infections – with one in five of those deaths in children under five. In 2019 AMR was found to have caused between 7,000 and 35,000 deaths in the UK alone.

The 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 and build pandemic preparedness on the ground across the world, using data to drive action and catalyse investment.

“This world-leading investment in AMR laboratories, workforce and systems is a vital contribution to realise our vision of a world free of drug-resistant infection.”

The statement noted that the present investment would deliver the second phase of the UK-Nigeria Fleming Fund partnership.