2 November 2018
NHS staff are today being invited to apply for a new scheme to help tackle superbugs overseas.
The Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) scheme – funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund – will support up to 12 partnerships across Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to work with local health workers to fight AMR.
In September, the Department announced that we will support links between NHS staff and peers in hospitals in commonwealth countries across Africa. This project will be delivered by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) and the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA).
The call for partnership proposals is now open – and the Government is inviting multidisciplinary teams of pharmacists, doctors, specialist nurses and other healthcare workers to apply for a grant of up to £75,000 to deliver a partnership project with a health institution in one of the partner countries. These projects should aim to improve antimicrobial stewardship and prescribing practice in partner countries.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural occurrence, however, due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics the rate at which AMR is occurring is exponentially increasing. This misuse threatens modern medicine and jeopardises the safety of routine operations such as caesarean sections and hernia repairs. To tackle this threat the use of antibiotics needs to be optimised through antimicrobial stewardship. The role of pharmacists, doctors and specialist nurses is key to guard antibiotics and to ensure they are used effectively.
The Fleming Fund is a £265 million UK Aid fund that seeks to enhance AMR surveillance in low- and middle-income countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. As part of this fund, this newly launched project will work with partner countries to build surveillance capacity for AMR and antimicrobial use as well as supporting the development of policy and practice for the appropriate use of antibiotics.
The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, Professor Keith Ridge, said:
Pharmacy skills play an essential role in antimicrobial stewardship. In deploying the expertise of NHS pharmacists to partner countries, the projects will lead to more effective antibiotic surveillance, control and prescribing. In sharing the knowledge and best practices that have been adopted by the NHS our staff can help tackle the threat of AMR on a global scale.
Interested applicants can find out more about these partnership opportunities through events taking place across the country. The events will provide an introduction to the scheme, the application process and share good practice for project planning. A selection of dates from events are listed below and applications can register online through Eventbrite.
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said:
I am delighted that UK Aid – provided through the Government’s Fleming Fund – will enable these vital partnerships between our fantastic NHS staff and their counterparts overseas to take place. AMR poses a risk to us all, wherever we call home – collaboration of this kind with our friends and neighbours internationally is hugely important if we are to tackle this challenge together. This scheme will play a crucial role in strengthening antimicrobial stewardship efforts in participating hospitals by allowing specialists to share experience and expertise.