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06 Jan 2021

Tackling antimicrobial resistance in our region

Like infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) doesn’t respect borders.

Confronting this significant issue requires a global response, and thanks to the UK Government’s Fleming Fund Fellowship Scheme, a Doherty Institute-led consortium is helping low and middle-income countries do just that.

Designated a Host Institution under the Scheme in 2018, the Doherty Institute, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory, is providing mentorship and career enhancement opportunities for professionals across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa working in fields relevant to their national AMR response.

“The Fellowships bring together key in-country clinicians, vets, pharmacists and scientists already working in AMR,” explains University of Melbourne Professor Ben Howden, Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory at the Doherty Institute.

“It allows them to build workforce capacity to implement appropriate, achievable and sustainable programs to detect and monitor antimicrobial resistance and use across human and animal health.”

The Fellowships consist of on-the-job training and mentoring, visits by the Fleming Fellows to Melbourne, with reciprocal visits by the mentors.

Fellowships are offered across human and veterinary settings, in clinical microbiology and laboratory quality management related to AMR of priority pathogens; and surveillance, epidemiology and data analysis related to AMR and antimicrobial usage.

The Doherty Institute is currently training twenty Fellows across Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Nepal.

Mentors have visited institutions in each country and worked with the Fellows to develop activities to improve their capacity to detect and monitor AMR.

“The visits have also allowed the team to understand the current AMR work in these countries, important for the development of achievable and meaningful fellowship work plans,” says Professor Howden.

“It will also give us the opportunity to develop a long term, collaborative relationship with in-country institutions.”

This article was first published in the Celebrating Five Years of the Doherty Institute Impact Report.