UK to invest in new research to tackle evolving health threats across the globe

Fleming Fund Regional Grants among announcements made at the UN General Assembly to tackle growing health threats globally.

Funding for projects to help tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and help scientists achieve global universal health coverage has been announced by the Chief Medical Officer at the UN General Assembly.

More than £6 million will be invested to strengthen existing surveillance systems tracking AMR trends across Africa and Asia, while a further funding pot of £12 million has been announced to improve collaborations on health systems research between low and middle income countries, for example in sub-Saharan Africa, and the UK.

This comes as Prof Dame Sally Davies, a world expert in AMR, warns delegates that the world cannot achieve universal healthcare without addressing the threat of AMR.

Professor Davies is representing the UK at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on universal health coverage in New York alongside heads of state, health experts and policymakers. She will point to infection prevention and control measures, such as immunisation, good hygiene and appropriate antibiotic use as integral to achieving both universal healthcare coverage and eliminating the threat of AMR.

Professor Davies announced the £6.2 million investment from the Fleming Fund to help improve AMR data quality, collection and sharing across Africa and Asia through our Regional Grants.

Improving the Quality of Bacteriological diagnostics for AMR

This Regional Grant will be led by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine including a partnership with Public Health England. This grant helps improve quality-assurance of laboratory testing in Africa. Quality assurance is commonly acknowledged best practice and underpins confidence in the results of a laboratory.

Common Protocols for Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation

This grant will be led by Ending Pandemics and will focus on standardising the collection and analysis of data by developing common protocols. For data to be comparable, it must be collected in the same way.

AMR Planning, Policy and Advocacy

This Regional Grant will be led by the International Vaccine Institute to help improve data sharing for global AMR planning and advocacy. Policy makers need robust evidence and data to make good recommendations.

Universal health coverage is a UN ambition, and aims for every person across the globe to have access to basic health care, regardless of their status. One of the major threats that could hinder this ambition is AMR, which is implicated in 700,000 deaths around the world every year, expected to rise to 10 million by 2050.

The UN has committed to ensuring all people have access to affordable healthcare by 2030, and yesterday member states adopted a declaration recognising that tackling AMR and innovative health research is crucial to this. If current trends in the development of AMR continue, common infections will become complex and expensive to treat, affecting tens of millions of people. Achieving universal healthcare coverage also requires rigorous research to inform health policy and health systems.

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