The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association roll out the pioneering new ‘SPARC’ programme to help combat antimicrobial resistance
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The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association has launched the new ‘SPARC’ programme, funded by UK aid through the Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund, aiming to improve surveillance and prescribing of antimicrobial medicines in low and middle-income countries within the Commonwealth and beyond.
London, United Kingdom (Wednesday, 9th February 2022) – The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) has successfully been awarded a Fleming Fund Strategic Alignment Grant to implement the ‘Surveillance and Prescribing support for Antimicrobial Stewardship Resource Capacity Building’ (SPARC), a programme spanning 22 Fleming Fund countries across Africa and Asia.
Led by the CPA, SPARC builds on the strength of the ongoing Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) Programme. CwPAMS has successfully developed and launched an antimicrobial prescribing smartphone app and supported surveillance of antimicrobial use through a Global Point Prevalence Survey (GPPS) across African 4 countries. CwPAMS, which is also funded by the Fleming Fund and delivered in partnership with the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET).
We’re delighted that the CPA is starting this grant looking to strengthen the approach to improved use of antimicrobial drugs. Assessing and moderating the use of antimicrobial drugs in clinical practice is a key piece of the puzzle in tackling AMR, and this grant will help to address it.
Toby Leslie, Global Technical Lead, The Fleming Fund Management Agent (Mott MacDonald)
SPARC will re-develop and expand the availability of the prescribing app, extending its availability in up to 22 countries where the Fleming Fund is currently active. The core prescribing guidance will be updated, and information on additional good AMS practices will be provided for selected countries, alongside training to allow countries to customise and add to the app in future, to ensure sustainability of this resource.
For the first time, the app will also include the addition of veterinary antimicrobial prescribing/stewardship guidance to strengthen the commitment to a ‘one health’ approach. SPARC also aims to develop workshops and provide practical assistance for up to six countries to carry out GPPS at multiple sites to gather data to respond to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Building on the CPA’s diverse expertise and experience in working across the Commonwealth, the project team will work closely with Mott MacDonald and other Fleming Fund partners to deliver SPARC.
This will involve leveraging and growing CPA’s current networks, extending the reach to new partners, stakeholders, and collaborators that can support and enable more countries to undertake surveillance and monitoring of AMR, and improve or develop their antimicrobial stewardship capacity.
The recently published GRAM report further emphasises the importance of this programme of work. AMR has been designated as a major global health threat and is accelerated through:
- misuse and overuse of antimicrobials;
- lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals;
- poor infection and disease prevention and control in health-care facilities and farms;
- poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics;
- lack of awareness and knowledge;
- and lack of enforcement of legislation.
There’s never been a more important time to focus on strengthening our surveillance and information systems to help tackle infectious diseases, especially antimicrobial resistance. We're excited to announce the launch of the ‘SPARC’ programme, funded by the UK’s Fleming Fund.
Victoria Rutter, Executive Director at the CPA.
Victoria Rutter, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, UK said
“There’s never been a more important time to focus on strengthening our surveillance and information systems to help tackle infectious diseases, especially antimicrobial resistance. We’re excited to announce the launch of the ‘SPARC’ programme, funded by the UK’s Fleming Fund.
The launch of this programme is a real testament to the success of CwPAMS that we continue to deliver with our partners THET and builds on the technical work that the CPA has led on for CwPAMS since its inception in 2018.
We are very much looking forward to building on the networks and relationships that we have developed during CwPAMS as this programme of work unfolds, increasing the accessibility of prescribing resources and training on AMS surveillance data collection beyond the 8 current CwPAMS countries to other Fleming Fund priority countries in both Africa and Asia.
Pharmacists in the countries we are engaging with for this new programme will continue to be an integral part of our work and we look forward to connecting with colleagues and their wider networks around the globe.”
At the CPA we remain committed to increasing our support to empower pharmacists to improve health and wellbeing throughout the Commonwealth, with a primary focus on supporting and optimising medicines use — particularly in low- and middle-income countries
Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, Global AMR Lead, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association Technical Programme Lead, CwPAMS and SPARC Programmes
Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, Global AMR Lead, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association Technical Programme Lead, CwPAMS and SPARC Programmes, UK said,
“Through Africa-UK partnerships as part of the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) programme, a number of Antimicrobial stewardship interventions were developed and implemented by the participants demonstrating extensive commitment from healthcare workers to collaboratively tackle antimicrobial resistance and implement effective stewardship interventions.
We are delighted to build on shared learning from CwPAMS and support more countries globally through additional funding from the Fleming Fund.
Through the new Surveillance and Prescribing support for Antimicrobial Stewardship Resource Capacity Building – (SPARC) programme, we aim to provide increased support for antimicrobial use surveillance in human health and empower frontline clinicians with improved access to their national standard treatment guidelines as well as internationally recognised antimicrobial stewardship guidelines through the development and rollout of an antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship smartphone app for human and animal health.
The COVID pandemic and the recently published analysis of the Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019 highlight the need for a continued concerted effort to curb antimicrobial resistance.
At the CPA we remain committed to increasing our support to empower pharmacists to improve health and wellbeing throughout the Commonwealth, with a primary focus on supporting and optimising medicines use — particularly in low- and middle-income countries”.
About the CPA
The CPA works to support pharmacists in strengthening healthcare systems; through the safe and effective use of medicines, improving access and quality of medicines and vaccines, and the prevention of disease and promoting healthy lifestyles. Through their government channels, they are vocal advocates for improved access and quality of medicines and vaccines; embedding pharmacists at all levels of medicines management to achieve this goal.
About the Fleming Fund
The Fleming Fund is a £265 million UK aid investment managed by the Department of Health and Social Care to tackle antimicrobial resistance by supporting low- and middle-income countries to generate, use and share data on AMR. Mott MacDonald has been appointed as the Fleming Fund Management Agent and is responsible for the management of the Fleming Fund Programme of Country and Regional Grants and the Fleming Fellowship Scheme.