Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance through Professional Learning: The Development and Evaluation of the Global AMR Curriculum

Charitonos, Koula; Littlejohn, Allison; Dawadi, Saraswati; Mcmullan, Rachel; MacQueen, Hilary; Goshtasbpour, Fereshte; Ullmann, Thomas and De Munari, Paola (2021). Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance through Professional Learning: The Development and Evaluation of the Global AMR Curriculum. The Open University.

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised as one of the most serious global threats to human health in the twenty-first century. AMR is defined as the ability of a microorganism (bacteria, viruses, parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (an antibiotic, antiviral or antimalarial) from working against it (WHO 2020a). Without effective antibiotics, routine medical procedures will be less safe in the future and even minor infections will no longer be treatable. The effects of AMR are predicted to be more acute in resource-limited settings such as in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs) (Seale et al., 2017). However, no country can view itself in isolation and addressing this serious threat to public health is a global priority that requires collective action across all countries (WHO, 2015).

In response to this global threat, the UK Government has established the Fleming Fund that plays a critical role in achieving the resolution of the 68th World Health Assembly, 2015 (WHA A68/20), and in realising the ‘Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Antimicrobial Resistance, 2016’. The work detailed in this report contributes to the Fleming Fund programme led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), specifically the objective overseen by Mott MacDonald to improve capacity in AMR surveillance in LMICs. This work is aligned with the World Health Organization’s Global AMR Surveillance System (GLASS), which acts as the blueprint for a multi-stakeholder global response to averting a global health crisis caused by AMR (http://www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/global-action-plan/en/).

The Open University is the Global Learning Partner of the Fleming Fund Management Agent, Mott MacDonald. The OU has been commissioned to develop and implement a Global AMR Curriculum that will help a range of stakeholders in all twenty-four Fleming Fund participating countries increase their knowledge, skills and understanding of AMR. As defined by the grant agreement between the Open University (OU) and Mott MacDonald, the Grant 2 (February 2020 – September 2021) supported the OU to design, deliver and evaluate a Global AMR curriculum as well as support the development of contextualised learning in two Fleming Fund countries: Nepal and Ghana. It draws on the OU expertise in the use of online and digital technology and the utilisation of different pedagogic approaches. Grant 2 builds on evidence generated in an earlier grant the OU had (Grant 1, April 2018 – September 2019) that involved the design and delivery of two pilot learning events in three LMICs (Bhutan, Tanzania and Ghana).

In this report, we draw on the evidence from Grant 2 to inform how human and animal health professionals and policy makers in different countries and work settings made use of information related to AMR and were supported in changing their work practices.

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