UCL Students for Global Health Short Course on antimicrobial resistance

On the 14th of November, the UCL Students for Global Health Short Course on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) started, led by Professors from UCL and LSHTM.  With the captivating title “Back to the future”, the first lecture of this free, four-part series was given by Professor Andrew Hayward, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Inclusion Health at UCL. For around one hour, the global scale and potential future impacts of antimicrobial resistant infections were laid out for the audience.

During the first half, the frightening magnitude of antimicrobial resistance was highlighted and the historical perspective of our own evolution alongside bacteria and antimicrobials was outlined. Given the central role antibiotics have in our culture and lives, the roles of the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, environment and other human activities were emphasised. During the second half of the session, we looked in more detail at the struggle against tuberculosis amidst emerging drug resistance. Professor Hayward gave us a fascinating glimpse into current research for future strategies, which we might encounter when working in the field after our studies.

At the heart of AMR is also the availability and prescription of antibiotics. Dr. Laura Shallcross, a Public Health consultant at the Institute of Health Informatics and at the Faculty of Population Health Sciences, introduced to us during the third session some key facts about antibiotic prescription habits in the UK.  Are doctors prescribing too much and is it part of the AMR problem? During an extremely interesting one-hour session, Dr. Shallcross told us about what may decrease unnecessary use of antibiotics by patients. As the medical field moves to a more patient-centred approach, should prescription of antibiotics follow a similar path towards an individual assessment?

On our fourth and last session, Rebecca Glover, a research fellow at LSHTM AMR Centre focused on the policy world surrounding AMR. What is being done policy-wise and what are the challenges for the future? With the catchy title “One health antimicrobial resistance policy: towards global solutions”, world, European and UK policies were discussed. The fundamental question of how these should be evaluated and be part of a planned and joint effort was addressed.

This short course provided a very broad and introductory presentation perfectly tailored for students wishing to understand better the topic and the different angles of ongoing research. As a fellow student, wishing to follow a career in AMR, it gave me an overview of what is being done worldwide and what roles I can potentially play in this global fight.


By Margarida Paixao (LSHTM AMR Centre Student Liaison Officer).