Thimphu: The antibiotics have saved millions of lives since they were first discovered. In animals, we use antibiotics for improving welfare and for enhancing the production. However, the indiscriminate use of these antibiotics has led to emergence of resistant bacteria in which antibiotics no longer work also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The UK Government has established the Fleming Fund to respond to the global threat of drug-resistant infections. The Fleming Fund is critical to achieving the resolution of the 68th World Health Assembly 2015, 84th World Animal Health Assembly and in realising the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) on Antimicrobial Resistance 2016. The overall goal of the grant is to avert the human and economic burden of AMR.
Bhutan is one of the recipient of Fleming Fund Country Grants to improve the diagnosis and surveillance of AMR in both human health and the animal health sector thereby to inform policy and practices at national and international levels. The human health component implemented by Department of Medical Services which benefits five laboratories (surveillance sites) and animal health component is implemented by the Department of Livestock (DoL) benefitting four laboratories, each at the National Centre for Animal Health (NCAH), National Food Testing Laboratory and two Regional Livestock Development Centres (RLDCs) at Tsimasham and Kanglung.
In addition to the country grant, the Fleming Fund also supports Fleming Fellowship Scheme to provide continuing professional development and leadership training opportunities for relevant fellows. Seven Fleming Fellowships were provided to Bhutan out of which three are for the animal health.
The inception phase of the Country Grant was implemented from April to November 2019 where the infrastructure development and other preparatory works were carried out in the beneficiary laboratories. Following the finalization of Detail Technical Implementation Plan in December 2019, a sensitization workshop was conducted on 3rd January 2020 at Royal Thimphu College to inform all the stakeholders on activities that shall be implemented through 18 months period. The meeting was expected to enhance co-ordination and collaboration among the various stakeholder including the policy makers.
Dr. Tashi Samdup, the Director General of DoL graced the opening ceremony as the chief guest. About 31 participants representing the Fleming Fund Project, Department of Medical Services, DoL (Animal Health Division, NCAH, National Veterinary Hospital, RLDCs) and BAFRA attended the workshop.
Submitted by Dr. N.K. Thapa, NCAH
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