Pakistan expresses resolve to tackle threat of drug resistance in collaboration with UK, Dr. Alvi
Further collaboration at the Provincial level is required to help strengthen Pakistan’s national response
Islamabad: The President of Pakistan, Mr Arif Alvi, has called for increased attention to be given to the growing threat of drug resistance, following a meeting with the British High Commission to review the UK/Pakistan Fleming Fund partnership on AMR.
President Alvi noted further collaboration at the Provincial level is required to help strengthen Pakistan’s national response.
Data from the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership suggest that in Pakistan there are an unnecessary number of registered antimicrobial products, a widespread practice of self-medication and excessive prescription of antibiotics by medical practitioners – all of which contribution to drug resistance.
The Fleming Fund is investing over £9 million in Pakistan to tackle resistance by strengthening AMR systems and supporting public health laboratories in the country. Since 2019 key achievements have included:
241 people trained on drug resistance, biosafety and biosecurity during country Grant-I
Refurbishment of National Institute of Health Laboratory, National Veterinary Laboratory and National Reference Laboratory for Poultry Diseases-NRLPD
Improved laboratory quality management systems
Strengthened collaboration between human, animal and environmental health agencies.
Drug Resistance, also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), is a growing global health threat and occurs when bacteria survive exposure to antibiotics that would normally kill them. Researchers estimate drug resistance could claim up to 10 million lives a year and cost £85 trillion by 2050.
The Fleming Fund, managed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care in partnership with Mott MacDonald, the Fleming Fund Grant Management Agent, aims to tackle drug resistance by issues by investing in surveillance of drug resistance and drug use. In Pakistan, international development company DAI is acting as the lead grant delivering the Pakistan Country Grant, which is focused on refurbishing laboratories and strengthening AMR collaboration.
Mr Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan said:
“Today I reviewed the excellent progress made in the UK/Pakistan partnership aimed at tackling drug resistance, however it is clear much more needs to be done to adequately address this growing health threat to the people of Pakistan. We need more and better data on drug resistance in Pakistan, I therefore encourage key agencies and Provinces to take up this critical challenge.”
Dr Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan said:
“Like COVID-19, drug resistance does not respect borders. I’m delighted that, with the support of President Alvi, UK and Pakistan are working together to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance in Pakistan. The Fleming Fund is investing over £9 million in Pakistan to address this and support public health laboratories in the country.”
Ayesha Rasheed, DAI’s Lead in Pakistan said:
“AMR is an emerging threat and is a rapidly evolving situation with an ongoing outbreak. We need to be aware acutely that this is a very special and serious situation and there is a necessity to enhance financial and technical commitment for AMR at the national level, strengthen provincial capacities and work in coordination across the country.”
Stanley Fenwick, Regional Coordinator for Fleming Fund Management Agent, Mott MacDonald, said:
“It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with the Government of Pakistan and the UK government to help strengthen Pakistan’s health systems and contribute to tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance. We are delighted with the president’s announcement today and hope that further attention to this issue will help stop the spread of drug resistance. “