TDR receives £8.2 million boost for antimicrobial resistance operational research training

TDR news item
14 December 2018

TDR’s Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) has won a grant for £8.2 million from the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The funding is for operational research training related to antimicrobial resistance in 6 low- and middle-income countries.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, in making this funding announcement 12 December, said, “Containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a global health threat will require investment in research at all levels from ‘bug to bedside’. This new partnership will fund research that aims to transform AMR policy and practice, and turn the tide against antimicrobial drug resistant infections.”

Antimicrobial resistance has the potential to kill as many as 10 million people each year and cost the world economy as much as US$ 100 trillion. AMR allows infections to persist and spread within and across populations. Standard antibiotic treatments then become ineffective, making even routine surgery potentially life-threatening.

SORT IT course, Myanmar

AMR SORT IT will empower countries to make better use of the information they collect to make evidence-based decisions and contribute to preventing and controlling the global spread of AMR.

TDR Director John Reeder said, “The UK Government has been a strong, long-term supporter of our efforts to improve the capacity of disease-endemic countries to strengthen health interventions through appropriate research for implementation. We are delighted to join the NIHR in applying one of our most successful training models to improve the quality and availability of evidence for making critical decisions to fight the enormous threat of AMR.”

The new funding leverages and strengthens TDR’s core investment in the SORT IT programme and allows it to diversify into this topical and important research area.

Research for policy and practice changes

AMR SORT IT will start in January 2019 and run for three years in Colombia, Ghana, Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda and Viet Nam. It will support practitioners in those countries to bridge the gap between research and practice by providing training on how to use local and national AMR data to respond to drug-resistant infections. Training will be tailored to national AMR priorities using the well-tested SORT IT approach implemented by TDR since 2012.

SORT IT will not only teach practical skills for conducting operational research on AMR. There is a strong component for fostering policy and practice change. In addition to identifying barriers and investigating solutions, participants will learn how to involve the users of research in their plans and tailor their plans and information appropriately.

These capacity development activities will complement investments in national AMR surveillance infrastructure made through the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund. The funding is part of the NIHR Global Health Research Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget which supports research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries.

For more information, contact Rony Zachariah.