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ASTMH Annual Meeting 2020 Blog / All Blog Posts / Addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance-- the future is in our hands

Addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance-- the future is in our hands

By: Rebecca Mandt, Phd Candidate, Harvard University

Photo: medical illustration of drug-resistant, Shigella sp. Bacteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication, ‘Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States’ (2019) Global Health & Infectious Diseases 11.19.20

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is widely recognized as one of the greatest public health threats of the 21st century. Already, antimicrobial-resistant infections kill over 700,000 people each year. It is estimated that if resistance continues to increase, 10 million deaths per year will be attributable to AMR by 2050. This is a global problem since, as we have witnessed, infectious diseases do not respect international boundaries. With this in mind, medical professionals at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (LSTMH) created a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “The Role of Diagnostics in the Antimicrobial Resistance Response.” Diagnostics are particularly important tools for addressing AMR, as they help prevent inappropriate antibiotic use and can be used in surveillance efforts. At the TropMed symposium “The Future is in Our Hands! Diagnostics for AMR,” representatives from three global partners—the African Society of Laboratory Medicine, the Latin American Alliance for the Development of in-vitro Diagnostics, and the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia-- spoke about the impact the MOOC has had in their region. Dr. Regina Berba of the Philippine Ministry of Health noted that one unexpected but highly positive impact was that the course encouraged participants to share their experiences and best practices with each other, and created a feeling of solidarity among the health care workers who attended. Dr. Rosanna Peeling, one of the creators of the MOOC, discussed how the course instructors hope to facilitate a global online community that can continue to discuss how best to address the AMR crisis.

The MOOC, ‘The Role of Diagnostics in the Antimicrobial Resistance Response’ is currently in session, and is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about the topic: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/role-of-diagnostics-in-the-amr-response

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