The UK's chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has announced funding for projects to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and achieve global universal health coverage.

The funding includes: £6.2 million to strengthen existing surveillance systems tracking AMR trends across Africa and Asia; and £12 million to improve collaborations on health systems research between low- and middle-income countries and the UK.

The £6.2 million in UK Aid investment to improve AMR data quality will come from the Fleming Fund, while the £12 million – designed to facilitate partnerships between the UK and low- and middle-income countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Aftrica – will be streamed through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research programme.

Announcing funding for the projects at the UN General Assembly, Professor Davies warned that the world cannot achieve universal health coverage – a UN ambition – without addressing the threat of AMR, which plays a role in 700,000 deaths every year.

If AMR continues to follow current trends, common infections will become complex and expensive to treat, affecting tens of millions of people.

Infection prevention and control measures, such as immunisation, good hygiene and appropriate antibiotic use, are crucial to achieving both universal healthcare coverage and eliminating the threat of AMR, she stressed.