Action on Antibiotic Drug Resistance goes to sub-Saharan Africa

Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:16:00 GMT

The University of Manchester continues to lead an expansive programme across the campus to help engage with local people on the topic of antibiotic drug resistance. Initially established by Dr David Allison and Dr Roger Harrison from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, the programme called ‘Action on Antibiotic Resistance: One Student, One Campus, One World’ now works in partnership with other universities, and the local health economy. But one off-shoot has taken this approach further afield, to sub-Saharan Africa.

Roger is leading this international work, which was stimulated by a chance conversation on Twitter with an enthusiastic pharmacy student at University of Rwanda. Christian Mugabo liked the approach taken at Manchester and wanted to support similar work in his own country. Coinciding with this was a report Roger had read from the Tanzanian Pharmacy Students’ Association, which described how they run summer camps to learn about a specific topic, like antibiotic resistance, and then return to their local communities and run workshops to help educate local children - with hundreds of student members taking part, there is potential for a huge network of people to be exposed to important health priority topics.

Bringing together these different groups is the International Students’ Partnership for Antibiotic Resistance Education (ISPARE) which was recently formulated, and Roger led the first meeting in Rwanda. It was an opportunity for him to meet the inspiring students from three different countries face-to-face, and to help shape ideas for future work. Meetings with local stakeholders, including the Vice Chancellor from University of Rwanda added additional impetus to continue with this approach. They also ran workshops on antibiotic resistance in a rural school which was the most rewarding part for Roger, who spoke of "the huge smiles that met us in the classroom and intense curiosity about our scheme from everyone".