Antimicrobial resistance preparedness in sub-Saharan African countries

Elton, Linzy and Thomason, Margaret J. and Tembo, John and Velavan, Thirumalaisamy P. and Pallerla, Srinivas Reddy and Arruda, Liã Bárbara and Vairo, Francesco and Montaldo, Chiara and Ntoumi, Francine and Abdel Hamid, Muzamil M. and Haider, Najmul and Kock, Richard and Ippolito, Giuseppe and Zumla, Alimuddin and McHugh, Timothy D. (2020) Antimicrobial resistance preparedness in sub-Saharan African countries. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, 9 (1). ISSN 2047-2994

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-020-00800-y

Abstract

Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is of growing concern globally and AMR status in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is undefined due to a lack of real-time data recording, surveillance and regulation. World Health Organization (WHO) Joint External Evaluation (JEE) reports are voluntary, collaborative processes to assess country capacities and preparedness to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health risks, including AMR. The data from SSA JEE reports were analysed to gain an overview of how SSA is working towards AMR preparedness and where strengths and weaknesses lie. Methods: SSA country JEE AMR preparedness scores were analysed. A cumulative mean of all the SSA country AMR preparedness scores was calculated and compared to the overall mean SSA JEE score. AMR preparedness indicators were analysed, and data were weighted by region. Findings: The mean SSA AMR preparedness score was 53% less than the overall mean SSA JEE score. East Africa had the highest percentage of countries reporting having AMR National Action Plans in place, as well as human and animal pathogen AMR surveillance programmes. Southern Africa reported the highest percentage of countries with training programmes and antimicrobial stewardship. Conclusions: The low mean AMR preparedness score compared to overall JEE score, along with the majority of countries lacking implemented National Action Plans, suggests that until now AMR has not been a priority for most SSA countries. By identifying regional and One Health strengths, AMR preparedness can be fortified across SSA with a multisectoral approach.

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