Enhancing the Management of Antimicrobial Resistance in Fiji

In partnership with the Fijian government, and with our research partners, we’re helping to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistant infections in Fiji.

This 2.5 year, $3M protype project will be scalable across other countries and is funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security.

Antibiotic resistance – one of humanity’s greatest threats

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. Already, antibiotic resistance causes at least 700,000 deaths globally a year, and this has been projected to reach 10 million deaths annually without intervention.

Put simply, if we do not act against antibiotic resistance, we will return to the dark ages of medicine where simple infections and injuries are deadly.

Developing countries are expected to feel the impact of AMR greater than developed countries because of a range of drivers including ‘unnecessary use of antibiotics, lack of regulation, and limited resources.  Several countries in the world have developed national action plans to manage AMR. However, developing countries have limited resources (both workforce and monetary) to implement such plans.

In the Western Pacific region, it is estimated that the economic cost of AMR could be as high as USD1.35 trillion over the next 10 years. Given AMR can spread regionally and globally, it is in countries’ best interests to pool resources together to tackle the problem, irrespective of their AMR status.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in people, animals, food, water and soil. They can spread between people and animals, person to person and environment to people. The main cause of spread of resistance is antibiotic use – the more we take or give our animals, the faster the bad bacteria develop and spread.

Rural chicken farm in Fiji

Antibiotics aren’t just used in the health sector, they are often heavily relied upon in the agricultural sector as well.

Fiji’s AMR burden

Recent reviews in Fiji indicate that drug resistant micro-organisms are present in hospitals. The country has one of the highest bacterial infection rates in the world, cases of diabetic amputations occur at a rate of 1 every 12 hours, and tuberculosis (both human and animal) are some of the highest globally. These health issues result in Fiji having a greater need for antibiotics, further increasing the risk of AMR. Recognising these challenges, Fiji was the first country in the Pacific to develop a National Action Plan against AMR but faces several challenges implementing it.