Malaria Consortium is delighted to be part of a new research project in rural Cambodia led by the University of Leeds to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans and animals and the impact this is having on antibiotic resistance.
Recent bacterial surveillance data revealed a very high burden of antibiotic resistance in Cambodia. The country has weak surveillance and laboratory capacity, lacks user-friendly clinical and infection control guidelines. It increasingly relies on antibiotics on farms and has a culture where antibiotics are readily available ‘over the counter’. Against this backdrop of rising over-use and a corresponding growth in bacterial resistance to antibiotics, a growing number of patients won’t now be cured by the drugs they are given.
Over the course of six months a team of researchers, including Malaria Consortium experts, will study the drivers of antibiotic resistance on different fronts: in humans, in animals and in the environment using a ‘One Health’ approach. With frequent interactions between humans and animals in their shared environments, this multi-disciplinary approach involving the Cambodian health, animal, agriculture and environment sectors, is crucial if antibiotic resistance is to be effectively addressed.
The team will conduct a situation analysis, assess antibiotics consumption and develop a map of the antibiotic use chain. They will work closely with the Working Group for Combatting Antibiotic Resistance in Cambodia, led by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization, and driven by high-level representation from the Ministries of Health, Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, and Environment.
After a six months development phase, the researchers will submit a research proposal to the Medical Research Council for a three-year project to address the misuse of antibiotics in Cambodia in healthcare settings, farming and in rural communities in cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Health.
The project is funded by the UK Medical Research Council and led by the University of Leeds in the UK with co-investigators the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the Global Health Research and Development based in China and Canada, and Malaria Consortium in the UK and Cambodia. The project is supported and directed by the Cambodian Ministry of Health, Communicable Disease Division and the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Royal University of Agriculture.