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Action Plan to control the spread and impact of potentially untreatable Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Peru: research and public health model for the region

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a global action plan to control the spread and impact of antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng). This plan was launched to enhance a global response to “the prevention, diagnosis and control of infections caused by Ng and to mitigate the health impacts of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through enhanced, sustained, evidence-based and collaborative multisectorial action”. This action plan is especially important because AMR in Ng threatens to make this an untreatable infection, leading us to the post-antibiotic era. Antibiotics are the only means of eradicating gonococcal infections as there are no vaccines available.

In countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), gonorrhea infections and the potential of untreatable resistant strains are a serious problem and up-to-date information is lacking. AWHO-recognized Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (GASP) in LAC was established over 20 years ago (PI initiative), including Peru, but has suffered from issues of sustainability with resultant loss of capacity and expertise. The extent of emerging resistance in Ng is unknown in Peru and its participation in GASP programs has been sporadic.

The present proposal is designed to develop capability and public health strategies in Peru to minimize the impact of AMR Ng. In collaboration the GASP-LAC coordinating Centre in Canada and multidisciplinary partners at the national and international level the following strategies that will be implemented:

  • Establishment of a more extensive and strengthened AMR surveillance network
  • Capacity building to establish a network of laboratories to perform Ng diagnosis and AMR testing with appropriate quality assurance mechanisms
  • Research into mechanisms of resistance and the molecular epidemiology of Ng strains to better detect emerging AMR and evidence-based effective prevention and control measures, including treatment guidelines.