ARK Foundation along with the University of Leeds has launched a new project titled "Community Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance (COSTAR)" to address the alarming issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Bangladesh.
An online launching event was organized on 13 March, 2022 to inaugurate the project, said a press release.
COSTAR, a joint initiative by the University of Leeds, ARK Foundation Bangladesh, HERD International Nepal, Chittagong Veterinary University (Bangladesh), Malaria Consortium, University of Liverpool, and the University of Western Australia, is being implemented in Bangladesh and Nepal.
The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation GCRF collective fund.
Professor Rumana Huque, PhD, executive director of ARK Foundation, said in her welcome speech that Antimicrobial Resistance is a growing threat to both human and animal health. The irrational use of antibiotics among humans and animals further worsens the situation.
Stressing on the economic impact of AMR, she mentioned a recent study that finds that Bangladesh can face almost Tk 788,000 crores decrease in GDP by 2050 if AMR is not curbed now.
She said that the COSTAR project would prevent antimicrobial resistance in Bangladesh through community dialogue approach (CDA) interventions.
According to a recently published study, Antimicrobial Resistance accounted for a staggering 1.27 million deaths in 2019.
It is estimated that deaths from AMR infections are set to rise to 10 million by 2050 if no action is taken.
This is at least as high as the deaths attributed to Malaria or HIV/AIDs.
Moreover, the highest burden of AMR attributed deaths is within LMICs. AMR is becoming a significant public health problem in Bangladesh too.
Dr Rebecca King, associate professor, University of Leeds and the principal investigator of the project expressed her concern by saying that AMR is now a leading cause of death globally, higher than those caused by HIV-AIDS and malaria.
She also added that global guidance on tackling AMR recommends actions including the development of new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, and the implementation of national and global surveillance systems.
She noted that COSTAR would focus on how individuals and communities can collectively address the drivers of AMR in ways that are feasible and affordable to them.
Professor Dr Tahmina Shirin, director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, Professor Dr Abul Faiz, former director general of DGHS, and Professor Dr AHM Enayet Hussain also spoke at the event joined by development workers, health experts, academicians, students, policymakers, and media outlets.