UK to invest in new research to tackle evolving global health threats

01 October 2019

Article: 53/3905

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies, has announced funding for projects to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and achieve global universal health coverage. The announcement was made at the September 2019 United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

The funding will include: 

  • £6.2 million to strengthen existing surveillance systems tracking AMR trends across Africa and Asia. 
  • £12 million to improve collaborations on health systems research between low- and middle-income countries and the UK.

Professor Davies warned that the world cannot achieve universal health coverage without addressing the threat of AMR, pointing to infection prevention and control measures, such as immunisation, good hygiene and appropriate antibiotic use, as crucial to achieving both universal healthcare coverage and eliminating the threat of AMR.

Universal health coverage is a UN ambition, and aims for every person across the globe to have access to basic healthcare by 2030, whatever their situation. Achieving universal healthcare coverage requires rigorous research to inform health policy and health systems.

AMR is involved in 700,000 deaths around the world every year, and this is expected to rise to 10 million deaths a year by 2050. If AMR continues to follow current trends, common infections will become complex and expensive to treat, affecting tens of millions of people.

The £6.2 million in UK Aid investment will come from the Fleming Fund. This will help improve AMR data quality, collection, and sharing across Africa and Asia, with the aim of developing policy and action from that data. 

The invitation to apply for a share of £12 million of funding is being made by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research programme, which will enable experts from low- and middle-income countries and the UK to form partnerships, in order to contribute to universal health coverage and sustainable development goals.

Source: Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 25 September 2019