The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is partnering with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute’s (EPHI) Bacterial, Parasitic and Zoonotic Disease Research Directorate, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and Ohio State University’s Global One Health Initiative (OSU-GOHi), in developing Ethiopia’s first antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance program, which will ultimately include up to 16 hospital pilot sites across six regions.
AMR threatens the successful treatment of many common infections and is a public health and security crisis with local, national, and global consequences. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects 10 million AMR-related deaths per year by 2050, with the majority in Asia and Africa. This is a terrifying prospect.
In order to reduce the risk to so many lives, WHO has proposed the development of a worldwide network of AMR surveillance programs to help measure and describe the burden of resistance in different countries.
In Ethiopia, the inappropriate use of antibiotics among healthcare providers and in the food-animal industry, combined with limited understanding of AMR, has worsened Ethiopia’s AMR problem.
The goal of Ethiopia’s surveillance network is to gather the information needed to understand the level of antibiotic resistance of infectious organisms. When patients get an infection, antibiotics provide a lifesaving remedy. Over time, however, if patients receive antibiotics they do not need, that are not useful against what is making them sick, or that are not taken as prescribed, pathogens can become resistant and the lifesaving value of these medicines can be lost.
In the end, AMR means that fewer treatments are available to treat infections. The AMR surveillance network will provide clinicians and public health officers with the information they need to identify AMR and use the best medicines to help make people well.
With support from CDC, ASM provides onsite training and mentoring to selected sites to ensure that standardized laboratory practices are done properly and accurately.
To support clinicians, GOHi provided a three-day training for doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff from throughout the network. The interactive training focused on infection prevention, antimicrobial stewardship, use of microbiology lab findings in clinical practice, and correct specimen collection. Following the workshop, trainers and EPHI microbiology staff visited sentinel sites to provide support directly to the clinical teams.
Dr. Ebba Abate, the Director General of EPHI, concluded the launch of the AMR surveillance program observing that AMR containment in Ethiopia will require both improved laboratory practice and clinical practice working together:
Through this important work in understanding AMR, Ethiopia is demonstrating leadership in advancing global health security and in protecting people in Ethiopia and around the world from public health threats associated with AMR. The spread of AMR is a global threat and the United States is glad to work in partnership with Ethiopia to counter that threat and believes that a healthier Ethiopia will contribute to a healthier world.