In response to the initial recommendations of the O’Neill review “Tackling a global health crisis: Initial steps”, the UK Government has launched the Fleming Fund to tackle the growing problem of drug-resistant infection. The Fleming Fund will manage a total of£195 million (1.5 million HKD) of overseas development aid over the next five years to build laboratory capacity and surveillance networks inlow-and middle incomecountries, working with the Wellcome Trust, the Institut Pasteur International Network, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “In our interconnected world drug-resistant infection is a threat to us all, and increasingly driving a global health crisis.” JimO’Neil, Chairman of the review on Antimicrobial Resistance has said that drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands a year globally, and warned that by 2050 that figure could be more than 10 million. The economic cost will also be significant, with the world economy being hit by up to $100 trillion by 2050 if action is not taken.
In 2012, Institut Pasteur launched the BIRDY project, the first program ever to study anti-microbial drug resistance in a large international pediatric cohort in low-income populations. With an objective of 10 different study sites worldwide, BIRDY will follow about 7,500 children from birth during the first two years of their lives, providing accurate documentation of every febrile event while guaranteeing medical care and hospitalization when bacterial infection is suspected. Locally, BIRDY will improve the health status of the children recruited within the cohort and will strengthen the childcare capacities. The long-term goal of this program is to contribute to increase awareness among national policy makers about improving bacterial diagnosis, and controlling antibiotic resistance, by guiding healthcare policy, especially regarding the use and supply of antibiotics and establishing programs to combat resistance in healthcare systems.