A year on from the inception of the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (CwPAMS), the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, a leading partner on the CwPAMS programme, launches a new app for healthcare professionals to inform appropriate antimicrobial use and support stewardship initiatives.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms survive exposure to a medicine that would normally kill them such as antibiotics, antimalarials and antivirals. Overuse of such medicines can render them ineffective. Increasing and widespread antimicrobial resistance is a global concern, predicted to kill an alarming 10 million per year by 2050 without action to curb the trend (O’Neil, 2016). A key aspect to help tackle this, as highlighted in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) global action plan on AMR, is antimicrobial stewardship, which ensures appropriate and regulated antimicrobial use. WHO recommend antibiotics are divided into three categories – Access, Watch, and Reserve (AWaRe), based on their potential to cause resistant superbugs.
On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service (NHS), the Department of Health and Social Care announced £1.3million of UK aid to support the establishment of partnerships between NHS staff and their clinical counterparts in Commonwealth nations to enhance antimicrobial stewardship measures with the aim of reducing AMR.
Commonwealth Health Partnerships are focusing on enhancing hospital-level surveillance of antimicrobial use, improving measures to reduce infection and taking steps to use antibiotics more effectively through stewardship - all of which help to stop the emergence of AMR. The programme has already demonstrated enhanced surveillance through Global Point Prevalence Survey (PPS) uptake.
To inform the development of the CwPAMS programme a focused evidence review was undertaken. This highlighted a gap in clinical tools, based on established guidance to inform clinical decision making on antimicrobial use. Therefore, the CwPAMS app has been developed to provide easy access to information that is vital to use antimicrobials appropriately. It includes national treatment guidelines for Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, as well as that from WHO AWaRE.