Ghana gets £2.5m boost to tackle AMR

Ghana has received a £2.5 million grant from the Flemming Fund, a UK aid programme agency, through the Department for International Development (DFID) to improve on its surveillance structures in tackling the menace of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Ghana is one of the first countries in Africa to receive the grant as the country makes strides to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health.

The grant will support governance structure for AMR and Antimicrobial Use (AMU) surveillance, support government system in the collection, analyzing and reporting data on national and international platforms through the AMR National Reference Laboratory at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites become resistant to the medications used to cure the infections. When microbes are exposed to antimicrobials, they adapt and become more resistant. This contributes to increased AMR in not only humans, but animals, crops and in the environment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), sees AMR as a major concern due to the danger it poses to the health of the people. This is because a resistant infection could kill, spread to others, and impose huge costs to individuals and society.

According to WHO, AMR occurs naturally but is facilitated by the inappropriate use of medicines, this using antibiotics for viral infections such as cold or flu, or sharing antibiotics.

In 2014, a reviewed report commissioned by the UK government estimated that AMR could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if adequate measures were not put in place to tackle the menace, most especially in countries in Africa and Asia.

Speaking to the Goldstreet Business during a call to action conference on AMR at the Kempinski Gold City Hotel in Accra, the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health in the UK, Prof. Dame Sally Davies applauded Ghana’s role in tackling AMR and noted the need for the support came about as a result of Ghana’s continuous effort towards achieving the SDGs.

She explained that Ghana’s master plan on AMR deserves commendations because the plan brings together not only the human side, but also the animal side.

“Ghana has done such a good job building its AMR action plan by incorporating both the human and animal sides and therefore we needed to support Ghana’s laboratory, surveillance system and stewardship”, she said.

Country Director for DFID, Mr. Philip Smith insisted that despite the strides Ghana was making in tackling AMR, there remains some sufficient plans to be done in order to avert AMR-associated deaths.

Receiving the gesture, the Health Minister, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman Manu was appreciative on the support and promised the money would be used for the intended motive.

By Dundas Whigham