Press release: NHS staff to partner with Commonwealth Nations to stop global threat of superbugs

Press release: NHS staff to partner with Commonwealth Nations to stop global threat of superbugs

The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association are extremely excited to announce we are working with Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) with support provided by the UK Government’s Fleming Fund to develop Commonwealth partnerships for antimicrobial resistance in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Please read more about this exciting news on how we are collaborating to tackle antimicrobial resistance in yesterday’s press release.


NHS clinical staff and their counterparts in Commonwealth nations will work together in partnerships to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has announced today.

The new Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) scheme, funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund, will send up to 12 volunteer teams of NHS pharmacists and specialist nurses to Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to work with local health workers to jointly tackle AMR.

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“I am delighted that UK Aid – provided through the Government’s Fleming Fund – will enable these vital partnerships between our fantastic NHS staff and their counterparts overseas to take place. AMR poses a risk to us all, wherever we call home – collaboration of this kind with our friends and neighbours internationally is hugely important if we are to tackle this challenge together.”

“This scheme will play a crucial role in strengthening antimicrobial stewardship efforts in participating hospitals by allowing specialists to share experience and expertise.”

Commonwealth Partnerships for antimicrobial stewardship will see NHS and national teams work together to improve the detection and monitoring of resistant infections at the hospital level, take measures to reduce infection and put in place steps to use antibiotics effectively – all of which will help to keep antibiotics working better for longer whilst helping to stop the emergence of superbugs.

AMR occurs when microorganisms survive exposure to a medicine that would normally kill them such as antibiotics, antimalarial and antivirals. These microorganisms are often referred to as ‘superbugs’ and can leave medicines ineffective.

The independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimated that at least 700,000 deaths each year globally are attributable to drug resistance infections such as bacterial infections, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Unless action is taken, it is thought the burden of deaths from AMR could balloon to 10 million lives each year by 2050 and cost the global economy up to $100 trillion US Dollars.

It is estimated that 5000 deaths are already caused every year in the UK alone because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. Rising drug resistance is a global threat and if we do not tackle it, every day procedures such as cesarean sections, cancer therapy, and hip replacements will become extremely dangerous.

The Commonwealth Partnerships for AMS scheme will be delivered in collaboration with the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) and the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET), an international NGO with expertise in delivering global health partnerships.

UK aid has been supporting THET through the Health Partnership Scheme for seven years on other projects through the Department for International Development, supporting 180 partnerships to deliver 249 projects across 31 countries.

Over 2,000 NHS staff have already volunteered overseas and trained over 84,000 health workers in developing countries, from assisting recovery efforts in Nepal before the earthquake struck in 2015, to training local health workers in Mozambique to avoid AMR to training midwives in Uganda to reduce maternal.

UK aid has already allowed THET to support over 600 clinics and hospitals to deliver high quality health services. This experience benefits the UK – and volunteers come back more motivated, with improved clinical skills, leadership experience and learning from working on delivering services in a different context.