Africa: Findings in AMR Surveillance Data Across Africa to Shape Health Policy Reform

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — 14 new reports published provide a detailed account of drug resistance surveillance capacity across the continent to reduce AMR burden

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) with the support of the UK Aid Fleming Fund, have published 14 new individual African Union (AU) Member States reports providing a detailed study representation of the AMR situation across the continent. The reports were published as part of the Mapping antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use (AMU) Partnership (MAAP) consortium’s efforts.

The fourteen (14) Member States in the first phase of MAAP at the end of 2022, include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Containing over 819,500 AMR data records, between 2016 to 2019, from 205 laboratories, the AMR surveillance data analysed for the new reports from each Member State provides a unique source of information to feed into the national AMR action plan, national laboratory strategic plan, and other relevant policies in Africa.

“MAAP has collaborated with African Union Member States and put AMR on the map of Africa for the first time. A critical step to address the threat of AMR on the continent,” said Dr Yewande Alimi, Africa CDC AMR Programme Coordinator.

The study’s findings from the 14 Member States in the first phase of MAAP indicate that only five (5) out of the 15 antibiotic pathogens combinations prioritized by the WHO (GLASS) are being consistently tested and demonstrate a high rate of AMR.

Researchers also found that most laboratories across Africa are not ready for AMR testing. Just over 1% of the 50,000 medical laboratories forming the tiered laboratory networks of the 14 participating Member States conduct bacteriology testing and even fewer are capable of conducting the scientific process of determining AMR. This underlies the importance of further investment in laboratory capacity, including microbial systems, equipment and training – supported by the Fleming Fund, working with grantees and national partners.

“The lack of bacteriology and AMR testing capacity documented by MAAP has been an eye-opener. The reports published today constitute a unique resource for national, regional and global stakeholders working at reducing the burden of AMR,” said Pascale Ondoa, Director of Science and New Initiatives at ASLM.

MAAP also documented an alarming picture of antimicrobial consumption (AMC) with a combined lack of access and erratic use of antimicrobials. Only four (4) drugs comprised more than two-thirds (67%) of all the antibiotics used in the healthcare setting, while reserve-category antibiotics were found in only six of the 14 MAAP Member States. Unregulated antibiotic fixed combinations represented 3.4% of all consumed antibiotics.