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February 01, 2022

Kenya: FHI 360 will build and strengthen a network of laboratories to test for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria

by EIDHS General

Man looking into microsocope
Photo Credit: Mbuto Machili/FHI 360

Antimicrobial resistance (AR) is a global health and development threat that leads to reduced effectiveness of antimicrobial agents and increases in morbidity, mortality and associated health care costs. To address the growing threat of AR in Kenya, FHI 360 will partner with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s environmental microbiologists to build and strengthen a network of laboratories to improve detection and identify risk factors that drive the emergence and spread of AR in humans, animals and the environment.

The initiative is part of a new project funded by the CDC — the Global AR Laboratory and Response Network, which is modeled on the agency’s AR Laboratory Network in the United States.

“This new CDC project comes at a critical time,” says Janet Robinson, FHI 360’s director of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Health Security (EIDHS). “Around the world, existing and emerging antimicrobial resistance threatens our ability to treat bacterial infections safely and effectively. Through this global network, we will be better prepared for emerging threat prevention and response.”

In addition to strengthening detection capacity, the network will support responses to AR threats and inform global prevention strategies. Specifically in Kenya, antibiotic resistance is rising in infections resulting from the Salmonella bacteria and the bacteria that cause cholera. In the first year of the project, FHI 360 will work to enhance the capacity of laboratories to collect and test water samples for AR enteric pathogens — disease-causing bacteria that typically exist in the intestines of humans and animals and cause disease.

“This important work in Kenya will help to establish a strong and sustainable network of environmental microbiology laboratories to adequately sample and detect the presence of AR organisms. Data generated will inform decisions in prioritizing resources to prevent and stop the spread of AR bacterial infections in the community,” says Pat Sadate-Ngatchou, the EIDHS program director and the principal investigator on the project. To learn more about EIDHS’ other projects, please click here.

The Global AR Laboratory and Response Network is a global collaborative led by the CDC to enhance global capacities to detect and respond to antimicrobial-resistant threats across the One Health spectrum. This work is funded by CDC’s AR Solutions Initiative. CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this press release do not necessarily represent the policies of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the U.S. Federal Government.