29. November 2023

ICARS and Ministries of Kosovo sign MoU, formalising their partnership

In early November, ICARS’ Scientific Director, Dr Robert Leo Skov, travelled to Pristina, Kosovo, to take part in the 3rd international conference for microbiology in Kosovo as a keynote speaker, and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kosovar Ministries of Health, Environment, and Agriculture. This signing formalises ICARS’ partnership with Kosovo on a future human health project and solidifies Kosovo’s commitment to work together in mitigating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as ICARS’ new Mission Partner.

Signing the MoU from the Kosovar Ministries were Arbien Vitia, Minister of Health, Liburn Alieu, Minister of Environment, and Faton Peci, Minister of Agriculture.

In September, during a scoping visit, ICARS attended the launch event of the national guidelines on antimicrobial use (AMU) hosted by the Kosovar Ministry of Health, showing the country’s commitment to address AMR. During the November-visit, they signed an MoU with ICARS as a testament to this commitment, simultaneously launching their first joint project. 

Addressing inappropriate antibiotic use for upper respiratory tract infections (RTIs) 

The joint project focuses on Kosovo’s primary care sector and the practice of inappropriate use and over-prescription of antibiotics to treat RTIs. The goal of the project is to scale up interventions and contribute to Kosovo’s national strategy for AMR mitigation. Working towards this goal, the project will assess the current situation of antibiotic use in Kosovo, as well as design and implement antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs, using guidelines and rapid strep tests. The objectives of the AMS programs are to identify enablers and barriers towards the national AMR strategy, estimate economic benefits, and develop scaling strategies. 

The Kosovar government reiterated their commitment to follow through with the MoU, as well as to advance its investment in microbiology in the future, in close collaboration with the scientific community. In addition to collaborating with ICARS on the human health project, Kosovo signed an official agreement to become ICARS’ new Mission Partner.

From left to right: Arbien Vitia, Minister of Health, Dr Robert Leo Skov, ICARS Scientific Director, Liburn Alieu, Minister of Environment.

During the visit, Dr Robert Skov also had the pleasure of introducing ICARS’ unique model and approach to the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment, and meeting with several important AMR stakeholders, informing on ICARS’ mission to partner with Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) in co-developing and testing cost-effective, context specific AMR solutions with potential for scale-up across the One Health spectrum. 

ICARS is thrilled to forge this new partnership and welcomes Kosovo’s commitment to mitigate AMR as a Mission Partner. ICARS looks forward to collaborating with Kosovo in the optimisation of their primary healthcare centres and development of tailored solutions to the challenges of AMR in the country.