Antimicrobial Resistance: The Less Spoken Pandemic - A Call for Proactive Implementation of National Action on AMR in the East African Region

In the East African Region, all partner states except for Republic of Burundi have developed and politically endorsed or technically validated the National Action Plans (NAPs) on prevention and combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) A number of socio-economic related drivers to include extreme poverty, limited public awareness and inadequate knowledge about antibiotics and AMR of AMR have been reported during the recently held 8th EAHSC that lead to AMR. These include: On the regulatory side at the pharmaceutical and facility level a number of factors were reported that leads to AMR i.e. unregulated access, sale and distribution of antibiotics poor antibiotic dispensing practices as well as poor antimicrobial stewardship in the health facilities. Additionally, on the diagnostic side, bacterial pathogens exhibiting high levels of multi drug resistance (MDR) phenotypes and limited laboratory capacity to accurately diagnose urinary tract infections (UTI) were also reported to contribute to AMR. There is need for stronger governance and multi-sectoral collaboration across sectors (using one health approach), and increased funding, support and coordination. An opportunity exists to leverage on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programmes to build system-governance and coordination capacities