Confronting the Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance

While the rapid spread of COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines around the world, another health crisis looms large: the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The indiscriminate use of these agents threatens effective treatment for a growing list of common diseases – including pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhea, and foodborne diseases – increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Together with its longstanding partner, the government of Eswatini, ICAP is working to stop the further emergence of drug-resistant infections that greatly impact the health of humans, animals, and our environment. ICAP’s work in this area is grounded in the One Health approach, which recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. As resistant bacteria can spread between humans, animals, and the environment, curbing drug misuse and overuse across all health sectors is critical to tackling resistance as a whole.

“The health sector working alone cannot solve this problem. It is only by working together that we can move forward to address the rising threat of AMR around the world. We hope that initiatives like ICAP’s multi-sectoral partnership to combat AMR in Eswatini may serve as a global model.”

Ruben Sahabo, MD
Country Director, ICAP in Eswatini

In Eswatini, a multi-ministry taskforce supported by ICAP is working to meet the challenge of AMR head-on by building a national surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance, use, and consumption across animal and human health systems in the country. The goal is to develop evidence-based interventions to improve the use of antimicrobials in human and animal sectors and inform infection prevention and control (IPC) plans at the local, regional and global levels.

“Strengthening AMR surveillance is a priority for the human and animal health sectors in the Kingdom of Eswatini,” said Thuli Magagula, assistant director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Eswatini Ministry of Health, and a member of the Eswatini Ministry of Health’s AMR Containment Committee (AMRCC).Since the project’s start in early 2020, ICAP’s efforts to combat AMR in Eswatini have included strengthening of the governance and leadership of the AMRCC, as well as supporting the establishment and renovation of AMR surveillance sites within the human and animal health sectors, equipping and supplying laboratories, and building capacity of human and animal health workers. Additionally, ICAP has developed a variety of tools to be used at the intersection of animal, human, and environmental care including standardized operating procedures and protocols, lab aids, and national data flow systems in compliance with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS).

The project is notable for the wide range of stakeholders represented, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the University of Eswatini’s Faculty of Agriculture, and the AMRCC. Additional key partners include EcoHealth, Health and Education Consulting, and the University of Pretoria.

Funding: Fleming Fund




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By the Numbers

ICAP is strengthening capacity to prevent, detect, respond to, and control infectious disease threats in 20 countries, including:

  • Building human resources for
    health capacity in
    17 countries
  • Mitigating the threat of
    antimicrobial resistance in
    15 countries
  • Strengthening surveillance systems in
    13 countries
  • Strengthening laboratory systems in
    10 countries
  • Supporting emergency
    response operations in
    7 countries

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