Image: The KICK-AMR participants with Dr Suman Majumdar (far left), Professor Anton Peleg (seated, left) and Dr Ben Coghlan (seated, right)
Health leaders from four Pacific states are in Melbourne to learn from Australian experts about how to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Under an Australian government Australia Awards Fellowship, Burnet Institute and Alfred Health are hosting key personnel working on AMR – pharmacists, physicians, laboratory scientists and epidemiologists - from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Burnet’s Health Security Program Director Dr Ben Coghlan said the two-week Fellowship provided valuable support to strengthen health systems’ abilities to prevent and respond to AMR.
“These people-to-people and institutional connections will deepen Australia’s strong commitment to regional health security,” Dr Coghlan said.
AMR is increasingly a global health security concern, with drug-resistant infections causing 700,000 deaths annually.
The Fellowship – Kick-starting Pacific National Plans to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (KICK-AMR) – aims to strengthen countries’ capacity to implement national AMR plans, critical for regional prosperity and security.
Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at The Alfred hospital and Monash University, Professor Anton Peleg said the KICK-AMR program was “an exemplar of crucial initiatives needed to combat the global problem of antimicrobial resistance, with excellent capacity building for our region”.
Through site visits to health facilities and laboratories, shadowing counterparts, examination of relevant technologies, and structured workshops, the Fellowship enables the 12 participants to visualise new ideas and practices that they can adapt to their own settings.
Dr Coghlan noted that The Alfred hospital was a recognised leader in training clinicians in antimicrobial stewardship, infection prevention control and diagnostic lab strengthening.
“Fellows will also investigate how a range of Australian funding mechanisms might be joined up to maximise health system improvements that enhance regional health security and promote sustainable development,” Dr Coghlan said.
The Australian government recently announced an AUD$300 million Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific Region to build national and regional capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats such as AMR.
Australia Awards Fellowships, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, build capacity and strengthen links between Australian organisations and partner organisations in eligible developing countries in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities.