News and Opinions  –  2022

Launch of a new approach to antimicrobial stewardship in Zambia

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2022-08-25

At the yearly ReAct Africa Conference in Zambia in July, the Director General of the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) Professor Roma Chilengi, launched the Zambia Strategic Program for Antimicrobial Stewardship (ZASPARS). The program is an adaptation of the Swedish strategic programme against antibiotic resistance (STRAMA) which has led to a significant reduction of the inappropriate use of antibiotics in Sweden since its introduction in 1995.

Professor Roma Chilengi, Director General of the Zambia National Public Health Institute and Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa, at the launch of the new stewardship programme in Zambia. Photo: Kalichi Pictures.

New approach brings in all stakeholders under one umbrella in Zambia

Professor Roma Chilengi, Director General of the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). Photo: Kalichi Pictures.

“ZASPARS is will be at the heart of Zambia’s AMR National Action Plan and bring all of us in under a One Health umbrella. It will be a platform for learning and sharing of best practices and advocacy work between clinicians, microbiologists, infectious diseases physicians, pharmacists, veterinarians, clinical officers, environmentalists, and community members.”

says Professor Roma Chilengi

ZASPARS include key components of the Swedish STRAMA model such as:

  • information and training of physicians
  • monitoring, analysis and feedback of antibiotic use and resistance
  • treatment recommendations

Recently a full time AMR Focal Point for Zambia was appointed, who will engage in this work. This is an upscale compared to earlier. Other key stakeholders are: professional bodies and societies, Zambia Medicines Regulatory Agency (ZAMRA), patient care groups and non-governmental organizations.

Professor Otto Cars, who initiated the Strama model in Sweden says:

“I am happy that Strama Sweden has inspired the work in Zambia. And I am convinced that ZASPARS will play an important role – by providing a platform for collaboration among key actors in the country – to manage antibiotic resistance.”

Provincial and district committees to be formed

The ZASPARS programme will be led by the country’s Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Committee (AMRCC) under the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI). Following the successful model of Swedish STRAMA, provincial and district committees will be formed to engage an all-inclusive and supportive program for antimicrobial stewardship.

Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa at the launch of the new stewardship programme. The programme was released at the ReAct Africa Conference in July 2022. Photo: Kalichi Pictures,

Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa says:

“The launch of ZASPARS after STRAMA is a major milestone. ZASPARS will play an integral role in realizing Zambia’s AMR National Action Plan goals through institutional strengthening in antimicrobial stewardship, developing and utilization of evidence-based treatment guidelines, capacity building and a whole of society engagement. This north-to-south and south-to-north learning is essential.”

ReAct Africa will take a leading role in its inception and ReAct Europe will provide continuous support on the adaptation of the STRAMA approach. The start-up of this stewardship model in Zambia was initiated with targeted support from ReAct and a very strong engagement from key stakeholders in Zambia. Zambia will play a central role in addressing antibiotic resistance on the African continent.

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