Celebrating World Antibiotic Awareness Week with a new Student Liaison Officer team

Happy World Antibiotic Awareness Week everyone!

Is this an event to celebrate?

On the one hand, maybe not. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest challenges facing public health professionals right now and will likely continue to be so for many years to come. Our ability to treat common infectious diseases is under threat from new mechanisms of resistance to antibiotics.  Many infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, malaria, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases – are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. A recent UK report estimated that by 2050, ten million lives a year could be lost due to the rise of drug-resistant infections based on our current trajectory. Whether you work in high, low or middle-income countries, this is a problem that will almost certainly affect you over the course of your career in public health.

On the other hand, there are many things to celebrate. There is increasing awareness of the concept of antimicrobial resistance. Politicians and citizens in many parts of the world are increasingly taking note. Following the agreement of a World Health Assembly global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance in 2015, 79 countries across the world now have national action plans, and a further 49 have plans under development. You can find out a bit more from the WHO website about campaigns and initiatives across the world to combat antimicrobial resistance through raising awareness. These range from the development of an antibiotic ‘driving license’ in Germany, to assessment of fast food companies’ contribution to antibiotic resistance in India, to a launch of a visual story contest for high school students in Vietnam.

And we here at LSHTM are also doing our bit. Aside from the ongoing world-leading research (which goes without saying), this week also sees the appointment of four student liaison officers. The team will be working with the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre management team to coordinate a range of events throughout the year. We aim to raise awareness among the student body and move the issue up the agenda for both staff and students, reflecting the magnitude of the problem. We want to support students to get involved and develop their skills in this area to take forward into their future careers.

If you have ideas or want to get involved in any of the upcoming events, then get in touch. You can email us at james.cross@lshtm.ac.uk (group email address to follow).

We hope you were able to join us on Friday 17 November for a free film showing of ‘The Third Man’ and enjoyed our discussion about society’s relationship with antibiotics today (without giving too much of the plot away, this is a key part of this Orson Welles classic from 1949).

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to come along though – for events coming up over the coming weeks, keep an eye on the LSHTM AMR Centre student group facebook page, and you can also sign up to the AMR Centre newsletter. Join the conversation by signing up to the student AMR WhatsApp group, or follow the Centre on twitter, @LSHTM_AMR.

 

Your Student Liaison Officers,

Kate Mellor, Margarida Paixão, Sarah Woodhall & Vinesh Patel

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