November 23, 2023

In-Person Workshop at the University of Melbourne Unites Global Partners in the Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

In the spirit of collaboration and knowledge exchange, the COMBAT-AMR program hosted a workshop for partners at the University of Melbourne in August this year. This event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including partner organisations such as the Doherty Institute, Burnet Institute, WaterAid, the Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Alfred Health, Massey University, PPTC, PRIDA, and BWH.

External partners hailing from overseas, specifically Fiji (Colonial War Memorial Hospital, National AMR Committee), Samoa (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa), Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby General Hospital), and the Solomon Islands (National Referral Hospital), also joined in the session.

Workshop attendees during the talks prior to engaging in discussions

The objectives of the workshop were to:

- Showcase the key achievements and outcomes from the COMBAT-AMR program, and share learnings.

- Explore opportunities for the future to strengthen the approach and sustainability of work conducted through the COMBAT-AMR program.

- Support the development of a community of practice across countries for further information sharing and networking.

One of the primary approaches of the program, and a key topic of discussion at the workshop, was the One Health paradigm, which is the unifying approach to balance and optimise the health of people, animals and the environment. It is particularly important to prevent, predict, detect, and respond to global health threats, making it especially relevant in the context of AMR.

The collaborative discussions and presentations fostered an environment for active participation, with attendees engrossed in presentations, sharing experiences, and engaging in discussions. These presentations looked at the lessons learnt over the preceding years of the program, and were aimed at shaping the future of AMR management in respective settings.

Dr. Angeline Ferdinand, Evaluation Lead for the program and providing a cross-cutting perspective, remarked, "This workshop exemplifies the power of collaboration in the program. We're not just combatting a health crisis; we're building a community of practice. Sharing our triumphs and challenges is essential to strengthen our collective approach, and evaluating the activities throughout has been integral to the continued success of the program."

Dr Angeline Ferdinand speaking during the workshop

Dr. Gabriella Ak, Clinical Microbiologist at PMGH and a key contributor to the in-country work, presented valuable insights gained through the project's efforts. Dr. Ak reflected, "Being part of this initiative has been incredibly valuable. The knowledge shared here isn't just theoretical, it's practical; grounded in real-world solutions to actual problems. The learnings from our experiences at the Port Moresby General Hospital are contributing significantly to the Papua New Guinean, and global, fight against AMR."

As we commemorate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, it is vital to recognise the significance of collaborative activities. The partnerships renewed and knowledge exchanged during this workshop will undoubtedly serve as a cornerstone in the global fight against this pressing health challenge.