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Zimbabwe recognises that the control of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) requires close cooperation among the sectors involved in food, agriculture, environment and health

AdobeStock 554852059Data generated from surveillance will be used to influence national policies related to AMR and contribute to global platforms collating AMR data. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The country has adopted a ‘One Health’ approach as a guiding principle for working together to address AMR issues as evidenced by the tripartite, which includes Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Environment. The Zimbabwe AMR Country grant consortium consisting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as lead grantee, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) partnered to rehabilitate 14 human and animal health laboratories which were commissioned in May 2022. The rehabilitation is under the project entitled, 'Addressing gaps in surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Zimbabwe' funded by the UK Government’s Fleming Fund to the tune of US$4.7mn.

Almost a year down the line, the consortium and the Government embarked on a week long field mission to measure, learn and improve on progress of performance of the laboratories in AMR surveillance while developing a sustainable One Health roadmap. "The laboratories constitute a nucleus of One Health approaches that facilitate interlinkages in AMR surveillance between public, animal and environmental health,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Subregional Coordinator for southern Africa and FAO Representative to Zimbabwe.

This visit confirmed that Zimbabwe is now well positioned to improve and strengthen AMR surveillance as well play its role at global level in the collection, analysis and aggregation of AMR data including the generation of information on trends over time, defining the health and economic implications of AMR for the public health, environment, food and agriculture sectors. FAO has recently developed a global IT platform known as, International FAO Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring (InFARM) to assist in collection of AMR and AMU data in the agrifood systems. Zimbabwe is one of the pilot countries to participate in this global initiative since it has already made strides in setting up an AMR surveillance system