Shropshire Star

William to attend celebration of efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The Prince of Wales will deliver a short speech at the event.

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The Prince of Wales.

The Prince of Wales will attend an event on Thursday which will celebrate global efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance and build stronger health systems, food security and climate resilience.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when the microbes that cause infections develop resistance to treatments such as antibiotics and as a result infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability, and death.

The World Health Organisation has described AMR as “one of the top global public health and development threats”, saying bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths.

Hosted jointly by the Government and The Royal Society, the event in central London will showcase the latest scientific and economic research into AMR, celebrate citizen and civil society campaigns to raise awareness of the issue and give a platform to thought leaders.

It will be attended by ministers from the Commonwealth and around the world, representatives from UN organisations and AMR champions.

Entitled The World Together Solving the Antibiotic Emergency, the conference is part of a roadmap to an AMR meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

William will join survivors of AMR as they speak of their experiences, and Lord Darzi will give an update on The Fleming Initiative which will include a centre located at St Mary’s Hospital in London and encourage a global network to tackle AMR.

Last July, the prince became patron of the appeal to establish The Fleming Initiative, an innovative and collaborative approach led by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London to tackle AMR around the world.

He will deliver a short speech at the Royal Society and host a private reception at St James’ Palace for those attending the conference.

A package of up to £85 million to support the international community in tackling the threat of AMR will be announced by the UK Government during the event.

This will include up to £50 million to partner with countries in Africa to improve access to medication, up to £25 million to work with countries and territories in the Caribbean to strengthen surveillance systems to accurately monitor AMR threats through regional partners such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organisation, and up to £10 million over the next five years to help establish a global independent scientific panel.

Health minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Antimicrobial resistance could render our most vital medicines useless – it is a threat the world must take extremely seriously.

“This package of up to £85 million builds on the world-leading work the UK Government is already doing to support low and middle income countries to monitor, research and tackle this disease.”

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said such resistance is a global emergency “posing a vast threat to our health, our development and our security”.

He added: “Global deaths from AMR are already at nearly five million a year. That includes more than a quarter of a million children in developing countries, half in the first month of their lives.

“We must do more to tackle this threat and do it together, because it is too big to tackle without united global action.”

During the event, global biopharmaceutical company GSK will be announced as the first founding partner of the Fleming Initiative.

The company has made a £45 million pledge to help approved projects harness new technology including AI to help in their work.

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