The Fleming Fund programme receives global award for improving responsible antimicrobial drug use in Pakistan

The UK government's Fleming Fund project in Pakistan, led by grantee DAI and managed by Mott MacDonald, won the global antimicrobial stewardship prize from the AMR Industry Alliance for bringing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) awareness to the forefront of clinical care.

The AMR Industry Alliance is one of the world’s largest private sector coalitions tackling AMR, with over 100 diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies joining forces. The Alliance promotes innovative and scalable approaches to AMR stewardship (actions that promote responsible drug use) in low- and middle-income countries. The annual prize was given to two winners this year, with 10,000 CHF awarded for their ongoing AMR projects.

DAI, the Fleming Fund’s delivery partner in Pakistan, won the award for its Clinical Engagement Programme. The programme is in partnership with the Indus Hospital and Health Network (IHHN), working to enhance clinical engagement at six national hospitals across Pakistan since January 2021.

Clinical engagement in AMR stewardship is an early intervention in improving responsible drug use, encouraging doctors to use laboratory testing before prescribing antimicrobial drugs. The project also runs infection prevention and control (IPC) initiatives in hospitals to improve basic hygiene and sanitation measures that reduce infections.

Fleming Fund Country Grant Pakistan’s technical team representative discussed the interpretation and importance of ‘Antibiogram’ with the Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar staff.

DAI’s Dr. Qadeer Ahsan, Acting Team Lead for the Fleming Fund Country Grant in Pakistan said the prize money will help further develop staff working on the clinical engagement programme:

“We are very honoured to have been awarded the AMR Industry Alliance Stewardship Prize. Since DAI and the Indus Hospital Health Network have been working with public sector hospitals across Pakistan, the programme has gained traction, with a magnitude of surveillance data and learnings which signify its impact towards controlling antimicrobial resistance and better utilisation of antibiotics.”

“We’ve seen an increase in laboratory testing for patients, before doctors diagnose and prescribe, across these facilities. We’re thrilled that the Alliance aims to reward our programme as a best practice in responsible antimicrobial access through coordinated, proven, and implementable stewardship practices and protocols.”

Fleming Fund Country Grant Pakistan’s technical team member discussing prescription practices protocols during a ward round at Nishtar Medical University Hospital, Multan.

The Fleming Fund invests in strengthening AMR surveillance systems through a portfolio of country grants, regional grants and fellowships managed by Mott MacDonald, and global projects managed by DHSC. In Pakistan the Fleming Fund grant is implemented by DAI, a global international development company.

Bob Fryatt, International Health Lead at Mott Macdonald, said:

“Healthcare professionals are literally on the frontline in the campaign for the responsible use of antibiotics and they need our support to ensure these remarkable medicines will be available for future generations. The progress that DAI’s Clinical Engagement Programme is making on tackling AMR across Pakistan’s health system is invaluable.”

The Fleming Fund programme focuses on low- and middle-income countries because they bear the heaviest consequences of the spread of AMR. AMR is often referred to as the ‘silent pandemic’ and is predicted to take over 10 million lives every year, by 2050, if current trends continue.

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To mark One Health Day, we revisit the holistic concept spanning human, animal, and environmental health, which is one of the Fleming Fund’s guiding principles.

A plaque on the side of the Saint Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, UK, commemorates the discovery of penicillin, the first antibiotic, in 1928. Fungal spores, blown by the wind, landed on Sir Alexander Fleming's Petri dishes killing the bacteria he was growing leading to a revolution in medicine.