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The UK's Fleming Fund supports upgrade of microbiology labs in Zimbabwe

The Masvingo Provincial Hospital storeroom has been transformed into a new standalone microbiology laboratory, thanks to the United Kingdom’s (UK) Fleming Fund

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a threat to global public health, which involves the human, animal, food, plants, and environment sectors. It occurs when bacteria and fungi resist the effects of medications intended to destroy them, resulting in medications to stop working. AMR monitoring, which attempts to optimise antibiotic treatment to enhance patient outcomes, decrease possible harm, avoid the evolution of resistance, and save healthcare costs, depends on fully operational microbiology facilities.

The UK’s Development Director and Deputy Head of Mission in Zimbabwe, Geraldine O'Callaghan expressed how the UK was glad to have funded the upgrade to Zimbabwe's microbiology laboratories, given the positive impact it would have on the country's health sector. “Reducing the time for laboratory samples to be analysed allows patients to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment faster. This will ultimately save lives,” she said. The project's main goal is to support the implementation of activities outlined in Zimbabwe’s National AMR Action Plan (2017-2025).

The Masvingo Provincial Hospital Microbiology Laboratory is one of the 14 newly renovated laboratories furnished with modern equipment and reagent purchases as part of the Fleming Fund project, 'Addressing Gaps in Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance in Zimbabwe'. The hospital storeroom was transformed into a new standalone microbiology laboratory and provided with new equipment such as an automated blood culture machine.

Blood cultures have always been a critical tool in the management of life-threatening conditions like septicemia, enteric fever, infective endocarditis, and brucellosis. Today Masvingo is now able to conduct blood cultures, which will drastically improve patient management in the province.