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Tackling antibiotic resistance in Africa

Thursday 25 April 2019

ANTIBIOTIC resistance is set to hit low income countries hard, with global life-threatening consequences.

The University of Salford, in partnership with charity Knowledge for Change (K4C), have been awarded funding to develop work on anti-microbial ‘stewardship’ in Uganda, working with healthcare professionals in low resource settings to improve antibiotic use.

Knowledge for Change’s Chair, Professor Louise Ackers, said:“Anti-microbial resistance is a pandemic that is threatening to overtake cancer as a major cause of mortality in the UK. The impact of fast-growing resistance to antibiotics will especially hit low income countries, where infection and antibiotic control is often poor.”

Currently in Uganda, antibiotics such as Amoxicillin can be easily purchased over the counter and are frequently being handed out unnecessarily. Knowledge for Change are aiming to prevent this by training health workers in proper antibiotic use. They also aim to reduce the number of people getting infections, by taking steps like providing hand sanitiser gels.


Professor Ackers, who has been appointed as a Consultant for the World Health Organisation in the forthcoming Structure Operational Research and Training Initiative on antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries, added: “Despite common assumption, it is not actually people who become resistant to antibiotics; it is the bacteria themselves that become resistant. 

"This means what is happening in Uganda effects everyone. There are serious global repercussions.”

A multi-disciplinary team, headed by Professor Ackers and including microbiologists Dr Chloe James and Professor Richard Birtles, as well as non-medical prescribing specialist Clare Liptrott, from the University of Salford, are linking with Tameside and Glossop Hospital, the Ugandan Pharmaceutical Society and the Ugandan AMR Taskforce to improve anti-microbial stewardship in Kabarole District, Uganda.

Research knowledge

The project is funded by a consortium, including the Tropical Health and Education Trust, the Department of Health, the Commonwealth Pharmacy Association and the Fleming Fund, and builds on the work of three Salford PhD researchers with support from Knowledge For Change, Jo Welsh (the role of the midwife in antibiotic stewardship), Miriam Nantamu (the impact of science teaching on nurses’ management of antibiotics), and Gavin Ackers-Johnson (the growth of antimicrobial resistance in Uganda).

Gavin Ackers Johnson attended the National Anti-Microbial Surveillance taskforce meeting in Kampala on April 9th.

He said: “It is a real privilege for me to attend the Taskforce meeting and know that my work is fully integrated into the Ugandan National Anti-Microbial Resistance Action Plan.”

A further number of University of Salford students will be travelling to Uganda to assist with Knowledge for Change’s crucial work, which ultimately aims to transfer knowledge for positive change.

See other posts about Knowledge for Change

- Salford charity undertakes vital cancer screening in Africa

- Fund to provide attack victim with new hands

Find out more

Holly Attwell

0161 295 5087