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Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest global health security threats of our time, complicating efforts to fight diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Microbes that have developed medicine resistance (sometimes called ‘superbugs’) cause drug-resistant infections contributing to nearly 5 million deaths each year. Burnet’s AMR response focuses on strengthening public health systems in our region.

Our main objectives are to:

  • contribute to strengthening core public health system capacities required to prepare for and respond to AMR threats in Asia-Pacific region
  • improve understanding of AMR threats and apply new tools to improve health security 
  • make a major contribution in responding to drug-resistant tuberculosis in our region
  • increase the capacity of health professionals, researchers, policymakers and the general community in relation to AMR through education and training in Australia, our region and globally.

We work in partnership with governments, national AMR committees and public health counterparts across countries in our region to support the prevention, diagnosis, surveillance and management of AMR pathogens under the framework of existing National AMR Action Plans and priorities.

Our work focuses on delivering a program of work at major national sites, including referral hospitals and laboratories, across four key themes:

  1. Improving infection prevention and control. Through training and mentoring, our approach is to establish relevant policies and procedures, including hand hygiene and systems for monitoring selected healthcare-associated infections.
  2. Building capacity to respond to AMR. We provide stewardship training and mentorship for improved measurement, ongoing monitoring of the appropriateness of antibiotic use and volumes of use, and the capability to manage antimicrobial stewardship and respond to emerging issues.
  3. Improving AMR laboratory capacity and surveillance. We offer training, mentoring and support to:
    • improve AMR detection in an accurate and timely manner
    • be able to undertake surveillance of World Health Organisation (WHO) AMR priority pathogens
    • establish efficient referral pathways for AMR pathogens.
  4. Improving cross-sectoral surveillance of AMR and antimicrobial use across human and animal health. We embrace a One Health approach that recognises that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.

Burnet’s collaborative research, capacity building and health system strengthening projects are working to improve our region’s response to the growing global health security threat of antimicrobial resistance.


key personnel working on AMR, including pharmacists, physicians, laboratory scientists and epidemiologists from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, are being hosted by Burnet Institute and Alfred Health. The purpose of their visit is to learn from Australian experts on how to combat AMR.


is the number of main drivers identified by researchers in a Burnet-supported study, that are considered likely to influence the development and spread of AMR in the Pacific.


sentinel surveillance sites collecting febrile illness data and sample collection for molecular confirmation of malaria and arboviruses are operational across Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a result of Burnet’s STRIVE PNG project. One objective of the project is to allow rapid identification of outbreaks, resurgent and resistant pathogens and utilise data for decision-making.


is the percentage of physicians in a Burnet-supported study who agreed that the lack of a surveillance system for monitoring patient history of antibiotic use was a key factor contributing to the lack of understanding of AMR issues in Grenada.

Working Groups

Burnet is an Australian-based medical research and public health institute and international non-government organisation that is working towards a more equitable world through better health.