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UK Launches £210 Million Initiative to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Nigeria and Globally



The UK has launched a funding program worth £210 million with the goal of establishing state-of-the-art laboratories, innovative disease surveillance systems, and the expansion of the global workforce. This initiative is targeted at addressing the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Nigeria, as well as multiple countries across Africa and Asia.

The primary objective of this funding initiative is to significantly bolster surveillance capabilities in approximately 25 nations that are grappling with the most severe challenges posed by AMR.

The announcement, which took place on Thursday, was officially communicated by Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, the Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer within the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office/British High Commission.

According to the statement, approximately 1.27 million individuals worldwide lose their lives annually due to antimicrobial resistance.

This phenomenon arises when bacteria evolve to a point where existing antibiotics and treatments are no longer effective against infections.

Alarmingly, one in every five of these deaths occurs in children under the age of five. In 2019, AMR was responsible for causing between 7,000 and 35,000 fatalities solely in the UK. 

What the statement disclosed 

In a document seen by ThePressNG, the statement disclosed that the UK government plans to allocate funds from its aid budget to support the efforts of the Fleming Fund in addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across Asian and African nations over the upcoming three years.

This financial support aims to mitigate AMR’s threat to the UK and the global community. 

Additionally, the statement emphasizes that the funding will strengthen surveillance capabilities in approximately 25 countries facing the most significant challenges and consequences of AMR.

This endeavour encompasses nations like Nigeria, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea. The initiative will result in more than 250 laboratories benefiting from enhancements and the provision of cutting-edge equipment. 

The statement further revealed that the investment includes new genome sequencing technology which will help track bacterial transmission between humans, animals, and the environment. 

Reinforcing global healthcare workforce, microbiology scholarships, others 

The finding is set to reinforce the global healthcare workforce by facilitating 20,000 training sessions aimed at laboratory personnel, pharmacists, and hospital staff.  

Additionally, it will support over 200 scholarships through the Fleming Fund, aimed at enhancing expertise in microbiology, AMR policy, and the One Health concept, recognizing the interdependence of humans, animals, and the environment. 

Curbing anti-microbial resistance 

UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, had remarked earlier saying,   

  • “Antimicrobial resistance is a silent threat that significantly endangers global health, including within the UK. This issue will be a vital topic of discussion at the G20 summit in India.”  
  • “It must be stopped in its tracks and this record funding will allow countries most at risk to tackle it and prevent it from taking more lives across the world, ultimately making us safer at home.
  • “It also builds on work the government is doing to incentivize drug companies to develop new antibiotics – a model which some G20 countries are looking to implement.”

Dame Sally Davies, the UK Special Envoy on AMR, expressed her optimism on this initiative. She said, 

  • I am filled with pride and enthusiasm as the UK’s Fleming Fund continues to make tangible strides in addressing AMR and bolstering pandemic preparedness on a global scale. By leveraging data to inspire action and stimulate investment, this initiative is poised to create meaningful change on the ground.”  
  • “This world-leading investment in AMR laboratories, workforce, and systems is a vital contribution to realize our vision of a world free of drug-resistant infection.” 

The statement said the present investment will deliver the second phase of the UK-Nigeria Fleming Fund partnership.