The Fleming Fund’s Regional Grants and Fellowship Scheme are expected to make important contributions to the Fund’s overarching goals but, in a second phase of funding, these workstreams could be strengthened to maximise their effectiveness. These are some of the headlines from a new report by the Fund’s independent evaluators, Itad, now available to read on the Fleming Fund website.
The Fleming Fund's Phase I Report Launch Event
Following the publication of our Phase I Report on Tuesday 26th April, the Fleming Fund hosted a launch event the following Wednesday. The aim of the launch event was to announce HMG approval for the Fleming Fund until 2025, showcase our new publication and share our partners’ work.
The event kicked off with an introduction from the UK Special Envoy on AMR, Professor Dame Sally Davies. She emphasised the importance of using data to understand and take ownership of the AMR challenge, and empower “healthcare workers with the tools they need to drive solutions”. Dame Sally’s presentation concluded with a “resounding warning to the world that there is no time to wait”. She continued:
It is time for us all to step up and speak out against the insidious, silent AMR pandemic”.
A Summary of the Phase I Report
A representative from the Fleming Fund was then invited to dive into the contents of the Phase I Report. This included short presentations from the following contributors:
- Toby Leslie from Mott MacDonald
- Victoria Rutter from the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA)
- Rutendo Kuwana from the Substandard and Falsified Medicines team at the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Morgan Jeaninn from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
There were two main themes from the presentations: the importance of data, and collaboration. Speaking on the role of fellows in generating and using data in the Fleming Fund’s fellowship scheme, Toby Leslie emphasised that “data is the lynchpin for decision-making and action”. Morgan Jeannin was optimistic that countries’ ambition to tackle AMR is “reflected in the growing quality of data provided each year” in the OIE Antimicrobial Use (AMU) Global Database, summarised on pages 40 and 41 of the report.
On collaboration, Victoria Rutter attributed a large part of the success of the Commonwealth Pharmacists for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) scheme to “the power of partnership”. This was concurred by Morgan, who called for partners to “continue to work collaboratively in the fight against AMR”.
Panel Discussion and Q&A
The stage was set for a wider discussion on tackling the AMR problem. Mediated by the chair of DHSC’s Technical Advisory Group for the Fleming Fund, Nicholas Feasey, the following panellists presented on their contribution to the report before responding to questions from attendees:
- Josh Francis from Menzies School of Health Research, and the Project Lead for the Fleming Fund Country Grant to Timor-Leste
- Ayesha Rasheed from DAI Pakistan
- Satyajit Sarkar from the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Policy Grant
- Jorge Pinto Ferreira from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
It was great to hear some examples of how the Fleming Fund is making a difference in-country. Josh Francis mentioned the “striking” results in Timor-Leste, outlined in more detail on pages 20 and 21 of the report. Ayesha Rasheed presented on the role of the Fleming Fund in Pakistan, who are working with the Pakistan National Institute of Health (NIH) and WHO in an example of “true partnership”. Image: Baucau Hospital Laboratory in Timor-Leste, which is supported by the Fleming Fund.
Satyajit Sarkar and Jorge Pinto Ferreira spoke to wider themes of AMR surveillance, specifically on driving policy and behaviour change. Satyajit called for policymakers to “pay greater attention to the seemingly intangible”. This includes improving incentives and increasing trust amongst stakeholders to share data and building greater political and societal ownership of AMR. Jorge, presenting on his colleague Emmanuel Kabali’s article in the report, emphasised the need to creating a culture of knowledge sharing to change behaviour, as “knowledge is only good insofar as it is shared and disseminated”.
The questions that we were unable to answer in the event have been added to the end of this post.
Reflection and wrap-up
Although our contributors shared their many achievements, it’s apparent that there’s still a lot to do in the AMR surveillance space.
The event was an opportunity to share the Fleming Fund’s achievements throughout Phase I, but also invite collaboration to ensure that our investments are sustainable. If you would be interested in working together on an area of the programme, please email FlemingFund@dhsc.gov.uk.
The full document is available here
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Emmanuel Kabali, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, shares his experiences from the 2019 Fleming Fund Delivery Partners Event.