A teal on white icon representing Antimicrobial Resistance. 



What is antimicrobial resistance (AMR)?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may be one of the greatest impending global health hazards. AMR is one of the world’s biggest killers – with almost 5 million deaths associated with bacterial resistance, including 1.27 million deaths attributable to it. By 2050, at least 10million people will die from AMR infections every year, costing the global economy $100 trillion. Covid-19 has so far cost the world $17 trillion and is associated with about 3 million deaths. Based on these predictions, the impact of AMR will far exceed that of Covid-19.

AMR hits hardest in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where its effects are aggravated by mounting inequity linked to gender, race, age, and socioeconomic status. Consequently, AMR poses a significant threat to many of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The threat of AMR is compounded by human behaviour; by our unsustainable treatment of plants (agriculture), animals (livestock – currently, more than 100,000 metric tonnes of antibiotics per year are used in meat production) and the environment, where the spread of AMR helps to drive climate change which, in turn, helps to accelerate AMR and affecting human health.



Programme Scope 

The UKOTs exhibit a wide range of capacities and resource availability which can render some susceptible to emerging infectious diseases and to the importation of AMR through travellers and tourism, to residents returning from abroad.  

Workstream Focus 

  • Detection of antibiotic resistance in health care laboratories 

  • Improving antibiotic prescribing through guideline development and professional development 

  • Improving surveillance of AMR and the flow of data from laboratory.  

  • Supporting infection prevention and control. 

Example Projects 

  • Laboratory support in detection of AMR by standard methods and by molecular means. 

  • Rollout of the Microguide app to all UKOTs for appropriate empirical antibiotic guidelines for primary and secondary care – the first step in supporting the UKOTs in their AMS strategies.  

  • Supported increased syndromic diagnostic capacity to enable UKOTs to identify pathogens in enteric, respiratory, neurological and bloodstream infections quickly and accurately to make a difference in the management of outbreaks and the management of individual patients. 

  • A situational analysis of the current state of the national antimicrobial stewardship strategy across UKOTs. 



Two key UKOT networks have evolved through this workstream: the Laboratory Network and the Infection Prevention Control (IPC) and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) network.  

The IPC and AMR network is for UKOT IPC and AMR focal points, leads and practitioners, including those where IPC or AMR is just part of their remit in any setting (national, facility or community). Membership is also open to other stakeholders on request. The purpose of the network is to: 

  • Provide peer support for IPC and AMR leads and practitioners 

  • Facilitate shared learning between organisations and the UKOTs 

  • Advance the development of improved IPC and AMR practices within the UKOTs 

  • Provide a safe forum for discussing challenges and possible solutions 

  • Facilitate training and educational opportunities 

The Network meets every 6-8 weeks with the Secretariat provided by UKHSA, chaired by UKHSA IPC Specialist. For more information or to join the UKOTs IPC & AMR Network please email UKOTs.Programme@ukhsa.gov.uk 


Key Resources 

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