ASM Helps Tanzania Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Partnership with the Fleming Fund

ASM Helps Tanzania Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Partnership with the Fleming Fund

Microbiologist Jim Wells is investigating the relationship between WDGS-based feed and the incidence and persistence of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle manure and on their hides. Here, Wells processes bovine fecal samples for microbial analysis while microbiologist Elaine Berry plates the processed samples for E. coli tests.

ASM in collaboration with the Fleming Fund will lead a One Health focused partnership with the Southern Africa Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) and Africare. This consortium aims to strengthen Tanzania’s national Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) surveillance strategy by addressing the gaps in AMR data and strengthening antimicrobial stewardship.  A robust surveillance system is critical for informing patient and animal care, guiding policy recommendations, and measuring the impact of health interventions.

One Health is an approach that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and our shared environment in detecting and treating diseases that threaten public health.  This integrated approach is important for:

  • Tracking changes in microbial populations that cause or exacerbate disease
  • Providing data that can be used by country programs to rapidly contain potential outbreaks through early detection of drug-resistant strains.

Funding for this 18 month program has been provided by the the UK Department of Health & Social Care’s (DHSC) Fleming Fund, a UK aid program that  aims to support low and middle income countries in developing AMR surveillance systems, with a direct focus on laboratory surveillance.

The ASM-led consortium will address critical gaps in AMR surveillance in humans, food, and animals by:

  • Training microbiologists to conduct required AMR surveillance testing.
  • Improving access to laboratory supplies across the country
  • Strengthening antimicrobial stewardship
  • Developing One Health structures and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Standardizing quality assurance in laboratory testing
  • Promoting knowledge and understanding of appropriate use of antimicrobial drugs
  • Increasing number of health facilities that routinely undertake bacterial culture and complete route antimicrobial drug susceptibility tests

“Our ultimate goal is for Tanzania to not only have a solid base of local expertise, but also the independent capacity to control AMR through a coordinated response. This will require working with Tanzanian stakeholders to strengthen national stewardship among the numerous sectors, including human, animal, agriculture, finance, and environment,” said Stefano Bertuzzi, CEO, ASM. “ASM will build upon its previous work in Tanzania and AMR, in addition to the expertise from the microbial sciences communities, to ensure that the work accomplished will be sustained,” he added.

The consortium will implement a training-of-trainer approach with Tanzania-based microbiologists, ensuring that veterinary laboratories have access to a cadre of expert trainers who can further train and mentor a laboratory workforce beyond the period of the project. In addition to training, the consortium will ensure that laboratories have capability to maintain essential equipment and supplies.

“We look forward to working in partnership with ASM to improve AMR surveillance and help address a leading public health threat,” said Mott MacDonald, the Management Agent for the Fleming Fund Grants Program.

ASM takes a collaborative approach with country partners and prioritizes country ownership and local capacity building by establishing cadres of local trainers and mentors, empowering local organizations and technical experts, bolstering in-country scientific education, and promoting regional mechanisms for collaboration, knowledge transfer, and experience sharing.
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of more than 32,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

Source: ASM

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