November 23, 2021

Online training program building antimicrobial stewardship remotely

A group of Melbourne infectious diseases clinicians, pharmacists and researchers have created an online training module to improve antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in developing countries.

AMS involves a set of activities that help promote the responsible use of antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, and is a key focus of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021 that runs from 18-24 November.

The Western Pacific Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Online Educational Modules (WPAMS) have been developed to support nurses, pharmacists, doctors and administrators working in hospitals and community health facilities to implement effective and sustainable AMS programs.

Led by University of Melbourne Professor Kirsty Buising, an infectious diseases physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and co-lead of the COMBAT-AMR project, the development of the WPAMS modules focused on Operational aspects of AMS and AMS in practice.

“The training covers a range a scenarios from what you need to establish and operate an AMS program, to reviewing clinical cases of upper respiratory tract infection,” says Professor Buising.

“It’s important that we included information and case studies in the training that are useful for both administrators and practitioners.”

Dr Steve Muhi, an infectious diseases physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, coordinated the diverse team of contributors.

“I hope that these modules help others to tackle the problem of AMR in their setting, in order to provide the best clinical outcomes for people who develop an infectious disease or who require prophylaxis to prevent infection,” says Dr Muhi.

“Because AMS is inherently complex and multidisciplinary in nature, the modules were designed to offer people a broad range of ways to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in their setting, from both a ‘top down’ as well as a ‘grass-roots’ approach.

“We utilised the experience of many different healthcare providers, including hospital infectious diseases physicians and microbiologists, community and hospital pharmacists, and general practitioners, to offer a broad lens of training content."

“By keeping the content broad and problem-focused, our team aimed to disseminate their collective knowledge into a practical and useful tool that can be adapted and applied to a range of settings.”

WPAMS was launched last week with partners at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Fiji, as part of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week event hosted by the Hon. Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Pictured: COMBAT-AMR project coordinator Karishma Nandan with guests at the launch.

Highlighting the key messaging from the World Health Organisation, ‘Handle microbials with care’, the event aimed to raise awareness of the importance of AMR and AMS in Fiji and the Western Pacific Region.

“AMR is a global threat, and we all have a responsibility to take meaningful action. Sharing these experiences and knowledge with our Western Pacific regional colleagues is another way to further strengthen our regional network in order to confront the growing problem of AMR,” says Dr Muhi.

The Western Pacific Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Online Educational Modules (WPAMS) are available by request and accessible through RedCAP.