The Fleming Fund is working with Uganda’s health care system to break down the barriers to disease surveillance by strengthening laboratory and diagnostic capacity in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - leveraging in-country infrastructure and sustainability - for global health security.
Uganda's first grant scales up surveillance
After 23 months of Fleming Fund support, the first country grant in Uganda comes to an end this month. The grant has helped develop an AMR governance structure, improved collaboration between animal and human health stakeholders and helped establish a system of collecting, analysing and disseminating AMR data.
Project Coordinator for Fleming Fund grantee Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Francis Kakooza anticipates several key achievements, including:
- The launch & dissemination of the National AMR Action Plan
- Support to a National One Health Platform with representatives from animal and human health ministries
- Establishment of a data information sharing system that shares data between laboratories to ministries
- Renovation and training of key scientists in several laboratories
- Procurement of vehicles for sample transportation
- Laboratory enrolment into external quality assurance programmes
- Development of plans, protocols and standard operating procedures for sample transportation, drug testing, sample storage
Francis also says that support from the Fleming Fund has helped Uganda’s national response to COVID-19. “People had already been trained to collected swabs and many of the COVID workers came from the microbiology laboratory; these staff were integral to the initial phase of the response.”
“In addition, the laboratories were also already equipped with face shields, standard operating procedures, laboratory workflow guidance and sample collection protocols. Biosafety and biosecurity guidelines were also in place, which helped. Even members of the national AMR committees, were able to apply their experience with AMR governance as members of the COVID-19 taskforce,” said Francis.
A second round of funding is currently being agreed with partners in Uganda and will build upon the achievements of IDI over the past two years. Support will continue to focus on strengthening AMR surveillance systems, AMR governance and data use and improving awareness among doctors and veterinarians around appropriate use of antibiotics.
This funding will also link AMR data to a major health database that is used for policy discussions within the health sector. And it will support dairy sampling to contribute to the National Development Plan to enhance agriculture exports. Together, all these steps will strengthen sustainable AMR surveillance across Uganda.
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As part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022 in November last year, Head of the Fleming Fund’s Expert Advisory Group Dr Catriona Waddington joined an esteemed panel of speakers from the AMR community at the symposium, ‘The rising tide of antimicrobial resistance – a high price to pay’ hosted by Ineos Oxford Institute, Oxford Martin School.