UK partners with Pakistan to tackle threat of antibiotic resistance

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£2.7m approved to strengthen disease surveillance systems, improve laboratory infrastructure

Zubair Qureshi

The United Kingdom has expanded its partnership with Pakistan to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance in the country.
According to details, the country is going to invest more than £2.7 million in Pakistan to strengthen disease surveillance systems, improve laboratory infrastructure and offer six professional fellowships to senior scientists to build expertise.
The programme is led by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with Mott MacDonald contracted as the Management Agent of the fund, and Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) appointed as the lead project partner to deliver most of the investment in Pakistan.
In this regard, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew along with a UK delegation on Thursday visited the National Institute of Health (NIH) to strengthen bilateral relations and to extend technical support to Pakistan with Fleming Fund for capacity building on Antimicrobial Resistance. Executive Director of the NIH Maj Gen Prof Aamer Ikram, National Coordinator and Chief Field Epidemiology & Disease Surveillance Division Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar and other senior officials of the NIH received the UK High Commissioner and briefed him about the working and progress in various areas made by the NIH.
In his brief remarks, the UK HC said his country was committed to tackling this important global challenge by working with our partners across the world.
The grant to Pakistan will help generate comprehensive data on antimicrobial resistance and will be complemented by six professional fellowships offering tailored professional development to senior scientists who are engaged in AMR surveillance in Pakistan.
About UK’s announcement to expand its partnership with Pakistan, he said “Today’s announcement is another illustration of the UK’s commitment to working with Pakistan to help tackle global issues. Growing anti-microbial resistance is killing hundreds of thousands of people across the world each year.
The grant will support the technical development of the health infrastructure in Pakistan, drive innovation, and build greater scientific links between our two nations; and it should lead to the saving of lives.”
ED NIH, Maj Gen Aamer Ikram expressed his pleasure at closely working with UK Government through Fleming Fund. The grant will support us in our efforts to prevent anti-microbial resistance in Pakistan; we see them as a key partner in providing critical technical and laboratory strengthening support, said Maj Gen Aamer.
Team Lead on the Pakistan Fleming Fund grant for DAI Global Health Ayesha Rasheed was of the view that cooperation between the two would strengthen data and information sharing, and develop evidence-based policies to drive Pakistan’s AMR agenda.
Jawaad Vohra, International Development Pakistan, Country Grant Representative for Management Agent, Mott MacDonald said Pakistan and the UK governments’ cooperation would help strengthen Pakistan’s health systems and contribute to tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
“With support through our partnership, we hope to eventually support the Government of Pakistan in improving its understanding of the AMR problem and to prepare strategies to tackle it,” he said.

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