Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Health, Republic of Zambia and ReAct Africa.
Lusaka, Zambia & Uppsala, Sweden, 18 November 2021 – The Zambia Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Committee (AMRCC) through the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) and ReAct Africa today announce the extension of their Memorandum of Understanding on supporting the implementation of Zambia’s Multi-sectoral National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. The renewed MoU extends support to the AMRCC and the Zambia strategic response program against antimicrobial resistance (ZSRA-AMR).
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), particularly antibiotic resistance, is one of the biggest global public health threats of our century, which is expected to disproportionately impact low- and middle- income countries. With more antimicrobials becoming ineffective, common infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. Rising AMR is putting gains made by medical interventions at risk of reversal and leading to longer hospital stays, expensive treatments and higher economic burden on individuals and nations. Antimicrobial resistance can also impact food safety, nutrition security, livelihoods and attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.
Despite having in place comprehensive National Action Plans on AMR, mobilizing adequate domestic financing to support effective implementation and coordination functions remains a challenge for many countries, including Zambia. The Zambia AMRCC Secretariat is understaffed and oversight of National Action Plan implementation is delegated to the National AMR Focal Point and Coordinator. However, since this is still regarded as a ‘part-time’ undertaking, the incumbent is expected to spend the majority of their time on their primary position, making it difficult to move activities from paper to action. Without full-time dedicated AMRCC staff, effective and sustainable NAP implementation will remain a challenge. External funding to support this function could therefore play a significant catalytic role in remedying this situation. Zambia has shown its commitment to addressing AMR through its established AMRCC, and there is hope for strengthened funding of the AMRCC from the Government budget in the near future.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Zambia National Public Health Institute Director General and Chairperson of the AMRCC Prof. Victor Mukonka expressed Zambia’s gratitude for being considered for the extended support. He reiterated that Zambia attaches great importance to the fight against AMR and despite the COVID-19 pandemic overshadowing most public health threats in the recent past, addressing the growing threat of AMR still remains a priority for the country. He added that the support from ReAct Africa will go a long way in strengthening the AMRCC’s effectiveness and ultimately accelerate implementation of Zambia’s Multi-sectoral National Action Plan on AMR. He further added that if successful, the approach of catalytic funding and a step-wise ramping up of domestic financing can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond.
Dr Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa noted:
“From my experience of supporting countries with National Action Plan development and implementation, implementation is often cost-intensive and is a major limiting step for most African countries. We are therefore excited about this collaboration which will help strengthen the AMR Secretariat in their critical role to ultimately move from paper to action.”
And speaking on the agreement, Prof. Otto Cars, Founder and Senior Advisor ReAct, stated that the implementation of National Action Plans on AMR requires long-term commitment, strong mechanisms of coordination and inclusion of civil society and professional organizations.
“Mobilizing domestic financing to support an AMR coordination function is a challenge for many countries. We are therefore happy to support Zambia with catalytic funding to strengthen this function to accelerate the implementation of the National Action Plan, towards a step-wise ramping up of domestic financing to sustainably support the coordination function.”
The Government of the Republic of Zambia remains grateful to ReAct Africa for the continued support and collaboration rendered over the past four years.
Contact for more information:
Victor Munkonka, Director General, Zambia National Public Health Institute: Phone: +260-211-269432
Mazyanga LM Liwewe, Head Communication, Information and Research:
Phone: +260-977-879400 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Therese Holm, Lead Global Communications, ReAct: e-mail: email@example.com
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