Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to human health globally. Surveillance is a key activity to determine AMR burden, impacts, and trends and to monitor effects of interventions. Surveillance systems require efficient capture and onward sharing of high-quality laboratory data. Substantial investment is being made to improve laboratory capacity, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) with high disease burdens. However, building capacity for effective laboratory data management remains an under-resourced area, which, unless addressed, will limit progress towards comprehensive AMR surveillance in LMICs. The lack of a fit-for-purpose and open-source laboratory information management system software is of particular concern. In this Personal View, we summarise the technical requirements for microbiology laboratory data management, provide a snapshot of laboratory data management in LMIC laboratories, and describe the key steps required to improve the situation. Without action to improve information technology infrastructure and data management systems in microbiology laboratories, the ongoing efforts to develop capacity for AMR surveillance in LMICs might not realise their full potential.
Who this is for
- Policy makers
- AMR surveillance and epidemiology specialists
- There is a crucial failing of some surveillance at the local level—ie, the upward sharing of data is the dominant activity, and generation of locally usable results is frequently inadequate.
- Urgent investment in laboratory IT infrastructure and data management systems is required
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