Close-out Conference of the AMR and Stewardship Project in Southeast Liberia

In January 2022, the Lancet has released a publication with findings from an analysis on the global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 2019. This study demonstrated again that AMR is a leading cause of death around the world, with the highest burden in low-resource settings. At the regional level, they estimated the all-age death rate attributable to AMR to be highest in Western Sub-Sahara Africa.

This underlines how important Liberia’s efforts in recent years have been. Key components of the AMR surveillance system and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programmes were introduced, and AMR and AMS are institutionalised at the three major hospitals in Liberia Southeast Region – JJ Dossen Hospital in Harper, Maryland County; Rally Time Hospital in Grand Cess, Grand Kru County; and Fish Town Hospital in Fish Town, River Gee County. Health Focus in collaboration with the University Hospital Münster, Germany, supported these efforts with fundings from GIZ/BMZ.

Clinical samples are collected from patients on admission at the three hospitals; transported to and analysed at the Microbiology Laboratory at JJ Dossen Hospital using international standard SOPs and procedures. Bacteria pathogens are isolated using appropriate media and identified using standard biochemical tests. Antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) is performed on confirmed bacteria pathogens by the in vitro Disk-Diffusion method (Kirby–Bauer test), and the results are interpreted using the EUCAST guidelines on zone inhibition diameters around antibiotic discs.

A national AMR-AMS Steering Committee was established in November 2019, domiciled in the MoH’s AMR-TWG Secretariat. The Committee meets on a bi-monthly schedule. Similarly, multidisciplinary AMR-AMS Committees have been established in each of the three county hospitals and all three are now operational with varying degrees of functionality.

Health Focus and our project team undertook a series of trainings and continuous education and support in the last three years to promote understanding and awareness on AMR as well as to highlight the benefits of embracing the AMS programme.

A final close-up conference of the project was held on January 27 in Monrovia during which the results were disseminated. Participants were: GIZ, MoH, NPHIL, NRL, County Health Teams (CHT) from River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru Counties, and other health development partners (WHO, FAO, and USAID).

Please see the video below with sights and sounds of the project implementation.