Skip to main content

Malawi Ministry of Health, bioMérieux, and Pfizer Form Country’s First Multisectoral Collaboration to Help Address Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Collaboration will leverage cross-sector resources and expertise to further the Malawi Ministry of Health’s work to prevent antimicrobial resistance.
  • The effort will focus on building infection prevention and control, diagnostics, surveillance, and treatment capacity in four public central hospitals.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent public health priority for Malawi, resulting in an estimated 19,000 deaths per year.1

LILONGWE, MALAWI, MARCY-L'ÉTOILE, FRANCE, AND NEW YORK, May 23, 2024 – The Malawi Ministry of Health, bioMérieux, and Pfizer today announced a collaboration to advance Malawi’s first multisectoral initiative which aims to build public sector antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) capacity in infection prevention and control, diagnostics, surveillance, and to guide the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health and is estimated to be responsible for 1.27 million deaths per year.2 In 2019, an estimated 60,000 people died from sepsis in Malawi, of which approximately 19,000 deaths were the result of bacterial AMR.1 Given an estimated average drug resistance rate of 76%, this calls for targeted interventions including improved stewardship and infection prevention as well as regulations on antibiotic use.3

“Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health crisis that requires urgent action to help protect the health and wellbeing of the people of Malawi,” said Dr. Collins Mitambo, Head of Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Centre-Republic of Malawi. “In alignment with the Malawi National Action Plan and building on our existing programs including our partnership with Fleming Fund and through new multisectoral initiatives like this, we can accelerate our national efforts and help turn the tide against antimicrobial resistance.”

Currently in Malawi, most antibiotic prescribing is done without a diagnostic result due to limited sampling, lab capacity, inadequate human resources and manual testing methods.4 Through the collaboration, bioMérieux will equip labs with a suite of new diagnostic and surveillance tools to help healthcare providers better improve patient care, while helping the Ministry of Health analyse pathogens and susceptibility to antibiotics. Key to this effort are digital solutions which focus on enhancing diagnostic capabilities and developing robust information technology infrastructure.

This will support the development of facility-specific antibiograms – starting at the four central hospitals, Kamuzu, Mzuzu, Queen Elizabeth, and Zomba – and contribute to Malawi’s national AMR response. 

“We’ve been working on AMR with the Malawi Ministry of Health since 2019 through the Fleming Fund Program. This new collaboration including Pfizer marks a significant and innovative collaboration demonstrating our dedication to combatting AMR,” said Michel Bonnier, bioMérieux’s Senior Director of Global Health. “Together we are committed to promoting the responsible use of antimicrobials by supporting healthcare providers. Our cutting-edge diagnostic and surveillance solutions not only improve testing and data sharing but also facilitate informed care decisions.”

Pfizer has provided a financial grant to University of North Carolina Project-Malawi to aid in technical assistance and training for the Ministry of Health and the four central hospitals. The aim is to help enable AMS committees in each hospital, strengthen the connection between physicians and labs, build microbiology and surveillance capacity, and improve pharmacy prescribing patterns. These activities intend to complement an existing digital education program available through TEACH AMS (Tele-mentoring, Equity & Advocacy Collaboration for Health through Antimicrobial Stewardship), a Pfizer collaboration with Project ECHO that utilises a tele-mentoring network to build AMS expertise and capacity amongst healthcare providers using case-based learning.

“The challenges around antimicrobial stewardship are complex and we need a multisectoral approach with industry, government, and NGO partners to drive real impact,” said Elif Aral, Pfizer’s Access & Accord Commercial Lead for Emerging Markets. “This collaboration is part of Pfizer’s commitment through An Accord for a Healthier World to help build health system capacity, expand access to quality care, and address the health equity gap for people most in need.”

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine, yet only less than 2% of the 50,000 medical laboratories in 14 African countries, including Malawi, currently conduct bacteriology testing.5

Without definitive identification or susceptibility testing, antibiotics can be misused and overused for non-susceptible pathogens, further accelerating AMR.


1 MICROBE. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Date accessed April 24, 2024

2 Murray CJ. Global Burden of Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance in 2019: A Systematic Analysis. The Lancet. 2022;399(10325):629-655. doi: Date accessed Apr 24, 2024,

3 Mapping AMR & AMU Partnership. “National Situation of Antimicrobial Resistance and Consumption Analysis from 2016-2018.” 2022

4 Malawi national action plan on antimicrobial resistance: review of progress in the human health sector. WHO, 2022: Date accessed Apr 24, 2024,

5 Mapping Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use Partnership (MAAP) Country Reports. AfricaCDC, 2023: Date accessed Apr 24, 2024,

Read the full press release

PR_Pfizer bioMérieux and Malawi MOH AMR AMS Collaboration_20240523.pdf
243 KB