July 6, 2021

Identifying capacity building opportunities and strengths using a situation needs and assessment tool

The COMBAT-AMR project has developed a comprehensive situation needs and assessment package to identify opportunities in Pacific Island Countries for capacity building and training activities to support the prevention, diagnosis, surveillance and management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Assessments utilising the tool are being conducted remotely in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands to gain a deep understanding of current practices, strengths and gaps across the project’s four key themes: Infection Prevention and Control, Antimicrobial Stewardship, Laboratory Capacity and Surveillance and Animal Health.

COMBAT-AMR’s situation and needs assessment package has been designed to provide a complete overview of current national-level and local policies and practices in place in each country to address antimicrobial resistance. The process begins with a context review, where publicly available information is combined with surveys and key informant interviews to provide a comprehensive national-level situation snapshot.

Following this, local COMBAT-AMR project coordinators are working with in-country health and industry counterparts to gain insights into specific areas within laboratories, health facilities and industries. These reviews take place via a thorough questionnaire built in REDCap, a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases.

“Our surveys have been developed specifically for each project theme building on existing tools and refined through a review process with teams of experts, to ensure accuracy and ease of use”, says Dr Angeline Ferdinand, Monitoring and Evaluation Lead for the COMBAT-AMR project.

The next phase of the project will involve reflection on the issues and opportunities that arose through the assessment process together with in-country counterparts to develop strategies that address identified priorities across the four themes.

“The advantage of this package of tools is that it provides a detailed examination of current AMR capacity and practice while also being used for benchmarking, so we can go back in another year to evaluate project impact and identify areas for further improvement.”

A key outcome of the project is to package the various assessment and data collection tools into a cohesive kit for wider distribution. The tools will be made available to other countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries, that are in the process of assessing and building their capacity to manage antimicrobial resistance.