5 April 2022
Some years ago, while working as a medical officer in a rural hospital, I saw a patient die after failing to respond to all the available antibiotics used for managing her septicaemic condition. I am sure such experiences are common even now, as antibiotic resistance is becoming a growing pandemic.
It is under this scenario that in February 2019, Ghana Public Health Association and a coalition of UK partners led by UK Faculty of Public Health successfully applied for a 15-month grant from THET. Working within the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme, the grant established an Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) project with the aim of tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in LEKMA hospital in Accra, Ghana.
There was an initial extension of the project for 3 months and later for another 7 months to the end of May 2022, to cover LEKMA polyclinic and community pharmacies.
AMR is the development of resistance by microorganisms to antimicrobial drugs to which they were previously sensitive, such that they no longer respond to treatment with the same drug or dosage regime. Resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials results in increased morbidity and mortality, with huge socio-economic ramifications at the individual, family, and national levels. Socially, patients lose confidence in the healthcare system, and resort to alternative avenues for cure.
Antimicrobial resistant microbes are ubiquitous, and can be spread between people, animals, food, and the environment. There is therefore the need for multi-agency collaboration to address the problem.
The project at LEKMA focused on improving antimicrobial surveillance, infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, and building sustainable capacity of the workforce on antimicrobial prescribing practices. The project team includes clinicians, public health experts, veterinarians, biomedical scientists, and local government officials.
Key activities undertaken include:
The key challenge has been limited funding to sustain gains chalked and expand project to community level. Despite these challenges, some successes have been chalked, among which are:
We aim at extending the project to the community level and making LEKMA hospital a centre of excellence for AMS with capacity to support other facilities.