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Press Release

Life-saving Uganda project gets cash boost

Cambridge University Hospitals press release

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Cambridge-based partnership which spearheads health programmes in resource-poor communities across the globe has won a cash injection towards more life-saving work.

Cambridge Global Health Partnerships, which is part of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), has been awarded £75,000 towards an initiative in Uganda by the Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund.

The fund aims to build an accurate global picture of antimicrobial resistance, so the right resources can be deployed at the right time. It comes as England’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, warns drug-resistant infections will by 2050 kill 10 million a year if left unchecked.

The Kampala Cambridge Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Control Project will be based at the Mulago National Referral Hospital, and focus on pregnant women with infections – a major cause of morbidity in Uganda.

The project, backed locally by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Papworth Hospital and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, will begin this month and involve a ten-strong team from Cambridge and the east of England including specialist infectious disease consultants, nurses and pharmacists.

Not only will it reduce healthcare associated infections in Uganda, but arm the teams with new skills, which will be of major value when the UK team return home.

The initiative builds on a partnership CUH staff have fostered with the hospital and Uganda’s Makerere University since 2015, and runs alongside the University of Cambridge’s longstanding Cambridge Africa programme.

The collaborations between clinicians and academics have sparked a host of other ideas, ranging from a postgraduate infectious diseases teaching course, a short course in antimicrobial stewardship, exchange visits, and a book about obstetrics in Africa.

CGHP director, Evelyn Brealey, said: “Engaging in health work overseas has a profound effect on the skills and competencies of staff, so in this case it is not only patients in Uganda who will benefit, but those in Cambridge too.

“Clinicians return with a renewed sense of purpose, different approaches to resource management and care, along with a long list of other new skills.”

UK lead James Whitehorn, a CUH consultant medical microbiologist and infectious diseases physician, added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to build on links between Cambridge and Uganda and share our experiences in antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention and control activities. We hope this project will have a positive impact on antibiotic stewardship in Uganda and beyond.”

Roy Clarke, Chief Finance Officer at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and member of the CGHP Committee, said: “We are supportive of this project which will contribute to work of international importance, with the potential to save many lives.”

Stephen Bentley of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute added: “We are party to many ambitious collaborations across the globe to provide the foundations for further research and transformative healthcare innovations, and are delighted to be a partner in this.”

Pictured from left are:  Reem Santos (CUH Pharmacist), James Whitehorn (CUH Consultant – Microbiology and Infectious Diseases), Elinor Moore (CUH Head of Infectious Diseases), (Director, CGHP), Netta Tyler (CUH and RP Pharmacist).

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