The UK Government has agreed to invest up to £2.8 million in Bhutan to accelerate the fight against drug-resistant ‘superbugs,’ through helping establish a comprehensive surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in both humans and animals.
Infectious diseases are evolving to survive exposure to the medicines that would normally kill them, such as antibiotics, antimalarials and antivirals, this phenomenon is known as Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). These microorganisms, often referred to as ‘superbugs’ can result in treatment failure causing significant morbidity and mortality.
The Fleming Fund is a £265m investment by the UK Government, through the Department of Health and Social Care, which helps Low and Middle Income Countries to generate, share and use AMR data. The fund aims to improve laboratory capacity and diagnosis as well as data and surveillance of AMR through a ‘One Health’ approach in South and South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The first Fleming Fund Country Grant for Bhutan will start from 1 April 2019 and will work on strengthening laboratory network on AMR in both the human health and animal health sector. This grant will run for a 6-month inception and design period and is then expected to be extended for a further 18 months.
In addition, seven fellows from Bhutan have been included in the Fleming Fellowship Scheme and will be equipped with the capability and networks to solve problems through guidance and mentorship from experts from the Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne.
Progress towards a second phase of the Country Grant and the Fellowship Scheme, will be agreed in close partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB).
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England said:
“I am delighted that the UK government’s Fleming Fund will be supporting the Royal Government of Bhutan in their efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).”