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MMUST Scientists Launch UK-Africa Consortium to Reinforce Stewardship and Surveillance in Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Menace

Participants at the Global Challenges Research Fund International Networking Workshop.

Scientists from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) conducting research on a project dubbed, have launched a research consortium to reinforce stewardship and surveillance in combating antimicrobial resistance menace in Africa. The Principal Investigators of the project are Prof. William Shivoga and Dr. Jian Guo Zhou from the United Kingdom, while the Co-Principal Investigators are Prof. Francis Orata and Dr. Anthony Sifuna from MMUST.

The three- day workshop was held from 15th to 17th April 2024 at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, Kisumu County. The project is funded by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant Scheme. The workshop provided an ideal platform for professionals with complementary expertise from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Tanzania and UK to explore innovative research through partnerships for tackling challenging health problems in Low Medium Income Countries (LMICs). The researchers utilized this workshop to form a transnational UK-Africa research Consortium in a long term run to seek a One Health Solution to Antimicrobial Resistance for Green LMICs beyond the grant.

The workshop was virtually graced by the Council Chairperson, Dr. Pamela Sitienei who applauded the researchers for taking the lead to identify the risk factors for AMR outbreaks in specialized and intensive care units. She pointed out that such research outputs would determine the appropriate containment strategies for improved treatment outcomes of patients.

“The mission of MMUST is to provide holistic quality education based on research, practical skills and offer solutions to the problems facing communities. This will allow researchers across disciplines to network and forge new links that will generate innovative transdisciplinary research ideas that effectively address global challenges facing humankind,” stated Dr. Sitienei.



The Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Mutai makes his remarks at the workshop.

Commenting on the mandate of the University, the Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Mutai stated that as a University of Science and Technology, the management encourages researchers from MMUST to form multidisciplinary teams in order to come up with cutting-edge innovations and research outputs.

“AMR is a global concern that calls for concerted efforts from all stakeholders and policy makers to prevent the sale of antibiotics without prescription, thereby bringing this alarming issue under control. I am certain that these new networks will position our researchers to curb this menace,” said Prof. Mutai.

The Minister for Health - Kisumu County, Dr. Gregory Ganda encouraged the scholars to continue with AMR awareness and advocacy strategies, adding that this will ensure that policy-makers, professionals, civil society, and the society at large understand why it is critically important to address AMR.


The Principal Investigator (Kenya) - Prof. William Shivoga speaks at the workshop.

Speaking during the workshop, Prof. Shivoga underscored the project’s objectives saying the establishment of the transnational transdisciplinary research consortium will help to tackle AMR problems in Lake Victoria Region. “The formation of this consortium was guided by the pilot data on AMR genes (ARGs) and Antibiotics (Abs) levels in drinking water in Lake Victoria Basin. We also conducted pre- workshop online meetings and a three-day workshop to engage scientists and policymakers from the participating countries to establish this consortium,” stated Prof. Shivoga.



The Principal Investigator (UK) Dr. Jian Guo Zhou at the workshop.

Similarly, the Dean School of Natural Sciences (SONAS)- Dr. Joseph Owino reiterated that research on AMR has the capacity to provide the right outputs that can be used by stakeholders in the Lake Region to craft evidence-based interventions. The Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing- Dr. Lydia Anyonje stressed the need to develop community oriented communication in order to attain the desired behavior change regarding AMR. The Chairman, Department of Biological Sciences- Dr. Jackson Cheruiyot was also in attendance. 


The Dean School of Natural Sciences (SONAS)- Dr. Joseph Owino and the Chairman, Department of Biological Sciences- Dr. Jackson Cheruiyot (seated) during the workshop.

Presenting on the topic ‘Experiences and Challenges in the implementation of the AMR National Action Plan in Kisumu County,’ Dr. Mitchell Okumu from Focal Point County Antimicrobial Stewardship Interagency Committee (CASIC) Kisumu County explained that they have engaged in various public awareness and education activities. Some of these activities CASIC has implemented include commemoration of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week; Sensitization of healthcare workers; Sensitization of farmers on appropriate use of antimicrobials; and training students from Uzima University and KMTC, Kisumu on appropriate use of antimicrobials, and safe disposal of medicines.


Other notable presentations on day one included ‘One Health Approach to Manage AMR-Challenges and Opportunities- Presenter’ by Prof. Samuel Kariuki; and ‘AMR surveillance Priorities in Kenya’ by Dr. Emmanuel Okunga.



One of the group discussions in action.

According to these extensive presentations, the research findings indicated that the problem of AMR is aggravated by a number of factors including; indiscriminate use of antibiotics, poor sanitation, poor water quality, crude diagnostic practices and lack of capacity-building programs, lack of access to quality antibiotics as well as poor surveillance and stewardship initiatives.

The researchers explored a number of strategies that are required to be implemented in order to monitor and control the spread of AMR in the region. There will be a need for continuous education among prescribers at the primary healthcare facilities, creating joint policies for AMR, Enhancing capacity for surveillance and stewardship programs, and availing AMR diagnostic tools to detect resistant pathogens.

Certainly more needs to be done in the areas of funding, legislation and enforcement by the government and other regulatory bodies to monitor dispensation of antibiotics. However, one question remains unanswered- While it is important to address AMR isn’t it equally important to save lives using Antibiotics?

By Linet Owuor

Photos by Shiundu Masafu

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