ISLAMABAD - The United Kingdom on Thursday announced to invest more than £2.7 million in Pakistan to strengthen disease surveillance systems.

The UK has expanded its partnership with Pakistan to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance in the country.  The investment is aimed at strengthening the disease surveillance systems, improve laboratory infrastructure and offer six professional fellowships to senior scientists to build expertise. The programme is led by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, with Mott MacDonald contracted as the Management Agent of the fund, and Development Alternatives Inc appointed as the lead project partner to deliver most of the investment in Pakistan.

Antimicrobial resistance happens when microbes including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to the drugs we use to treat them, including antibiotics.

This sometimes leaves us powerless to treat what we often consider to be routine infections. This poses a great threat to both human and animal health. Drug resistant infections cause hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year with the figures expected to rise.

The UK is committed to tackling this important global challenge by working with our partners across the world. The grant to Pakistan will help generate comprehensive data on antimicrobial resistance and will be complemented by six professional fellowships offering tailored professional development to senior scientists who are engaged in AMR surveillance in Pakistan.

Commenting on the announcement, Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan said: “Today’s announcement is another illustration of the UK’s commitment to working with Pakistan to help tackle global issues. Growing anti-microbial resistance is killing hundreds of thousands of people across the world each year.”