With global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) threatened by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), how can social science play a critical role in finding solutions?
Celebrating a new milestone in the UK-Pakistan partnership to tackle AMR and strengthen health systems
Inauguration of upgraded national laboratories, supported by the Fleming Fund, UK Health Security Agency and DAI.
June 2022, Islamabad — The UK’s Fleming Fund refurbished the microbiology laboratory at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Reference Laboratory for Poultry Diseases (NRLPD) as part of the joint effort to enhance Pakistan’s capacity to manage and mitigate the threat of AMR.
Events were held at NIH Islamabad and NRLPD to commemorate the successful refurbishments, which includes new laboratories and offices, as well as new equipment, training and technical assistance.
The labs were inaugurated by representatives from the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Health Security programme, with the event attended by representatives from NIH, DAI Pakistan, the UK Health Security Agency and Pakistan’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
NRLPD laboratory inauguration event. Photo credit: DAI - Fleming Fund Country Grant Pakistan.
Dr Ayesha Rasheed, Team Leader for DAI Pakistan, a Fleming Fund country grant managed by Mott MacDonald, emphasised the strong health partnership between the UK and Pakistan. Dr Rasheed acknowledged the commitment of all contributing stakeholders, underlining the UK’s commitment to supporting Pakistan’s health resilience:
“The Fleming Fund is delighted to help inaugurate this laboratory which represents an important step forward in our joint efforts to tackle drug resistance. The celebration with the NIH marks yet another milestone in the UK-Pakistan health partnership.”
The Fleming Fund is investing up to £9.7m in Pakistan. To date, DAI Pakistan has provided direct support to the government by improving evidence on antimicrobial consumption (AMC), providing training on AMR, biosafety and biosecurity; refurbishing national and provincial laboratories; and strengthening quality control of tests, within both animal health and human health labs, for AMR surveillance capacities.
NIH laboratory inauguration event. The laboratory staff are using Vitek equipment provided by the Fleming Fund. Photo credit: DAI - Fleming Fund Country Grant Pakistan.
Executive Director of NIH, Maj. Gen. Aamer Ikram, expressed his gratitude to the Fleming Fund for conducting such a significant project. He stated:
“We have come a long way since the initial launch of the AMR National Action Plan (NAP) in Pakistan in 2017 and the NIH has attained its accreditation as AMR Reference lab in line with international standards. I would like to thank the Department of Health and Social Care of the UK Government and the Fleming Fund Pakistan Grant for their support in this journey. I look forward to continuing our work in combating AMR together.”
The representatives at the NIH laboratory inauguration event conveyed the critical role of the UK-Pakistan partnership in building the foundations for AMR surveillance in Pakistan. The delegates also highlighted the urgent need to increase global collaboration to support AMR from a One Health principle, covering people, animals, and the environment.
The Fleming Fund country grant represents one part of a longstanding bilateral health partnership with Pakistan. The Fund also supports five regional grants and a professional fellowship scheme, managed by Mott MacDonald, while funding the South Centre’s research to tackle AMR and coordinate activities between countries. Together, these are helping to manage and mitigate the threat of AMR in Pakistan, contributing towards a healthier world.
Notes for editors
- Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis.
- O’Neill, Jim. 2016. Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations. UK: HM Government.
- International development company DAI is the lead grant delivering the Pakistan Country Grant. Partners include the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Aga Khan University, and NIH, Ministries of Health.
- Bacteria can travel freely between humans and animals, so tackling drug resistance must involve animal, human and environmental stakeholders. This is known as a One Health approach.
- Antimicrobial overuse has resulted in strains of microorganisms that are now resistant to nearly all drugs, often referred to as “superbugs”.
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