Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in resource-constrained settings - experience from five pilot projects

Trop Med Int Health. 2011 Mar;16(3):368-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02696.x. Epub 2010 Dec 8.


Objective: The rapid increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among bacteria is a major public health concern. The WHO Global Strategy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance proposed that model systems be developed for AMR surveillance and for monitoring antimicrobial use.

Methods: Pilot projects were established in three sites in India and two in South Africa to collect monthly AMR data on target bacteria for at least 12 months. Escherichia coli was used as the target bacterium in four sites (three in India, one in South Africa). One South African site used Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. Each site sought to obtain at least 960 isolates per year. Resistance was determined by disc diffusion or minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) methods.

Results: Data were collected for 12 and 16 months respectively in the South African sites and for 14 months in one Indian site and 24 months in the other two. All sites found difficulty collecting the required number of isolates, with three sites failing to do so. Escherichia coli isolates were more easily obtained and two sites developed methods to increase their yield. Disc diffusion testing provided more timely and reliable AMR data than did MIC determinations. Although methodological issues limit the comparability of data, high AMR rates were observed at all five sites.

Conclusion: All five pilot sites provided data on AMR, but also raised several issues related to logistics of long-term surveillance in settings under resource constraints. For surveillance of AMR in such settings, E. coli is probably the best indicator bacterium.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Developing Countries
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Haemophilus influenzae / drug effects
  • Humans
  • India
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • South Africa
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents