University funded for international project to tackle antibiotic resistance

A University project in Uganda which aims to tackle antibiotic resistance has been awarded funding from the Department for Health and Social Care.

The project will share best practice with health workers

A team of researchers from Nottingham Trent University with expertise in microbiology and public health will work with partners to share and promote best practice in the use of antibiotics with healthcare workers in Wakiso district, Uganda.

The rise of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) could lead to some medicines which treat infections and diseases, such as Malaria, becoming ineffective.

An action plan and long-term vision for AMR was published by the UK government earlier this year and noted the vital role of engaging internationally to contain and control AMR by 2040.

Similarly, the recently launched Uganda National Action Plan (NAP) includes strategic objectives to reduce AMR including promoting public awareness; training and education; improving infection prevention and control; promoting optimal access and use of antimicrobials; surveillance; and research and innovation.

The proposed project will build on research to increase awareness; train health workers, including pharmacists; and promote proper use of antimicrobials. It is hoped that at least 100 health practitioners and 200 community health workers will demonstrate better antimicrobial prescription practices following the training.

NTU’s involvement builds on existing public health work by Dr Linda Gibson, Associate Professor at the University’s School of Social Sciences, in conjunction with the School of Public Health at Makerere University in Uganda.

Dr Gibson will share knowledge gained from her research into health promotion, health systems, community development and engagement, patient safety, and AMR.

Jody Winter, subject leader for Microbiology at the University’s School of Science and Technology, will lead a team to provide educational support, while Melanie Le Bon, a senior lecturer from the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, will focus on sharing her knowledge of AMR from a veterinary and agricultural perspective.

Jody Winter said: “The main purpose of the project is knowledge exchange – getting people with different expertise together – to support the sharing and promotion of best practice in antibiotic stewardship and building capacity in healthcare provision in Uganda. This is important because rising antibiotic resistance is a global healthcare challenge. Careful use of the antibiotics that still work will help to prolong their usefulness by slowing down the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

Experts from Buckinghamshire NHS Trust; Makerere University’s School of Public Health Makerere, University College of Health Sciences, and College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity; and Entebbe Hospital in Uganda are crucial partners in developing the project.

Dr Gibson commented: “We are particularly pleased because this project extends our activities to new partners. We are looking forward to pharmacists and microbiologists from Uganda visiting NTU and Buckinghamshire NHS Trust in the summer for a workshop and collaboration.”

This project is funded through the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme, which is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the Fleming Fund for the benefit of the UK and partner country health sectors.

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