Global Challenges Academy

Tracking Antimicrobial Resistance

Tracking Antimicrobial Resistance in Malaysia

  • Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
  • Partnered with: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Indah Water Malaysia
  • Region: Southeast Asia

Human migrations, over prescription of antibiotics and inadequate waste management has resulted in the global spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It is one of the greatest health threats to human, animal and environmental health and the burden is greatest in low and middle income countries, such as Malaysia. In Malaysia, current models do not predict AMR, lack real data and do not consider how it spreads through the water catchment.

How we are meeting this challenge

  • Research at Newcastle University is addressing AMR in Malaysia by developing new ways of characterising and predicting river water quality, especially regarding AMR releases and human exposures.
  • AMR and other water quality tracking is being performed to predict rates of AMR spread across a major catchment in Malaysia to identify AMR sources and downstream exposures.
  • The project combines newly collected field data and the development of a deterministic model to help predict benefits of different AMR mitigation approaches to reduce downstream impacts.
  • Researchers are working with project partners to identify optimal technical and social interventions for Malaysia, but also providing a valuable tool that could be used in other low and middle income countries.
Malaysia - AMR

Who will benefit

Research led by Professor David Graham is working with local partners to monitor and quantify AMR from human and industrial sources in a water catchment in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The work is based on pioneering research in tackling AMR in India, Europe, China and Southeast Asia that combines field and lab studies to identify AMR sources and develop sustainable interventions.

The project is developing the world’s first AMR catchment model to be used for a low or middle income country, and will serve as the basis for similar work in Southeast Asia and around the world. Findings from the research; such as, identifying AMR exposure ‘hot spots’, will feed directly to local authorities in Malaysia and be used to reduce AMR levels.

Results from the project will be translated into policy in Malaysia by working closely with partners. It also is transferring skills between Newcastle University researchers and partners in Malaysia, enabling them to better manage AMR in water catchments. The research is contributing to raising the standard of health and quality of life for Malaysia by reducing the spread of AMR in water bodies and guiding alternate waste management approaches.

Project team

  • Professor David Graham, Newcastle University
  • Professor Richard Dawson, Newcastle University
  • Dr Azmi Aris, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Dr Mohd Ridza Bin Mohd Haniffah, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Dr Greg O’Donnell, Newcastle University
  • Amelie Ott, Newcastle University
  • Dr Michaela Goodson, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia
  • Malaysian Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water
  • Indah Water, Malaysia

Let's work together

If you're interested in working with us on a future research project, or would like to collaborate, email us today: