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Antimicrobial Resistance 2020

How to stop a hidden pandemic

© Megan Howe / Mott MacDonald Ltd

Professor Dame Sally Davies

UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance

The UK’s global partnerships are fighting against drug resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is happening right now across the world. The United Nations and its member countries are committed to ensuring healthy lives for all by 2030 – which is only ten years away. The Sustainable Development Goals depend on us ensuring everyone, everywhere is safe from this threat which does not respect borders.

Healthcare for all means healthcare for 7.8 billion people on the planet, so the UK works to ensure that every one of them has access to healthcare, no matter where they live. This is why the UK collaborates with partners across the globe to strengthen healthcare systems and respond to AMR.

Supporting the One Health approach

From nurses and vets, to fishermen and farmers, we depend on effective antibiotics for looking after people, animals and the planet. COVID-19 and Ebola exemplify how diseases travel between humans, animals and plants and why we need appropriate treatments for each sector. The UK supports a One Health approach, working across human, environmental, animal and fish health.

The UK government’s Fleming Fund is a £265million UK Aid programme supporting countries in Africa and Asia to collect and use AMR data effectively. Our investments in surveillance systems and laboratory capacity, using a One Health approach, helps countries to understand the scale and scope of AMR and take action to protect the health of their populations, as well as the rest of the world.

Data enables evidenced based decisions

When high-quality data is produced and shared locally, nationally and globally, then decision-makers can act on them. Data on how, when and where antibiotics are used and where resistance patterns appear enables targeted and evidence-based interventions, even in stretched healthcare systems.

The UK government, working with countries around the world, is bringing evidence and people together to optimise antimicrobial usage for the long-term and prepare for future challenges.

AMR will only be solved by looking outwardly, working globally and sharing expertise.

Because we work closely with other national governments, our country-led and country-owned approach is sustainable and supports each country’s wider health priorities. From ensuring labs have access to clean running water, to installing pioneering equipment– including mass spectrometers to identify bacteria in just two minutes– our networks focus on system strengthening.

Targeted training, with expertise from leading UK and international institutions, is building the capacity of laboratory staff to support the health of the most vulnerable around the world. Fleming Fund investments in diagnostic capacity and lab capability are also enabling countries to respond to health emergencies, such as COVID-19, which in turn will help us to globally prepare for AMR. 

Encouraging global collaboration

Our global partnerships are across sectors, as well as countries. The UK government is collaborating with FAIRR, UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and Access to Medicine Foundation. We are helping institutional and private investors to understand why AMR matters to us all and how they can put global health at the heart of their investments – achieving sustainable supply chains and the Sustainable Development Goals.

I am so pleased that antibiotics are being used less for growth promotion and more for treating sick livestock across 25 European countries. Working together, we can preserve our effective antibiotics for the humans and animals that do need them. Right now, and for future generations.

We all play a role in tackling AMR

AMR will only be solved by looking outwardly, working globally and sharing expertise. The UK supports the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Organisation for Animal Health to advance a shared global vision and actions for addressing AMR.

Everyone can work together to address AMR. From washing your hands to handling antibiotics with care, we can protect our antimicrobials and our world. With every single one of our international partners and friends, the UK hopes to strengthen global health security for all, for good. 

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