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Sweden appoints an ambassador to work against antimicrobial resistance

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NEWS PROVIDED BY Government of Sweden on February 19, 2022

Sweden is establishing a new position – an AMR Ambassador – to further strengthen the important global work against antimicrobial resistance. The position will go to Malin GRAPE.

When Sweden’s Statement of Foreign Policy was presented this week, it included a new Swedish initiative of appointing an AMR Ambassador. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to global health security and claims the lives of more than one million people each year, according to a study recently published in The Lancet.

“Antimicrobial resistance has long been an important issue for the Government. It is a serious and growing public health problem in Sweden and around the world. Sweden has a great deal of knowledge and experience in this area, and we are now raising the bar even higher by appointing an ambassador to strengthen Sweden’s work internationally,” says Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren.

AMR – particularly work on antibiotic resistance – is a complex issue that requires cross-sectoral cooperation in areas such as human health, animal health and the environment, and that necessitates both national and international cooperation and long-term commitment. The work involves both preventing infections that may require antibiotics and preventing the spread of resistant bacterial strains.

The new AMR Ambassador Malin GRAPE is currently head of the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s Unit for Antibiotics and Infection Control and has long worked on these issues, both nationally and internationally.

For example, she was responsible for the Public Health Agency’s work to build and develop the WHO’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS).

She also worked on the European Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (JAMRAI) project.

“I am tremendously honoured by this appointment. It feels very important to work on what the WHO considers to be one of the greatest global threats to human health. It’s an issue that concerns us all and that we must work with at international level to have an impact,” says Ms GRAPE.

  • Sweden has long worked on AMR both in the EU and internationally. In 2014, Sweden and the UK co-drafted a resolution on AMR in the WHO.
  • Sweden and the UK co-founded the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against Antimicrobial Resistance. Other members include the United States, France, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and South Africa.
  • Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren is co-chair of the UN Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, whose aim is to promote the global efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance.
  • Malin GRAPE holds a MSc in Pharmacy and her background is in research. Her doctoral thesis focused on antibiotic resistance. She has worked on antimicrobial resistance both nationally and internationally.