IDWeek 2018: Strengthen role of pharmacists in combating AMR, researchers say

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Science Speaks covered IDWeek in San Francisco Oct. 3 -7 with reporting on breaking news and developments in global infectious diseases, and the people who drive them.

SAN FRANCISCO – Recognizing the role of pharmacists and increasing opportunities for their clinical training are critical for successful implementation of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs in Latin America, a Colombian infectious diseases researcher said here on Saturday. While the majority of hospitals have multidisciplinary staff, pharmacists are often not part of the medical care team, Dr. Maria Virginia Villegas, scientific advisor of the division of bacterial resistance and nosocomial infections of the Universidad El Bosque, noted. Research presented by Villegas concluded that significant decreases in costs related to length of stay, clinical tests and overall care were noted after implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where life expectancy gains have been documented as the lowest in the world, efforts through the World Health Organization aim to improve tracking of antimicrobial resistance and promotion of antimicrobial stewardship, said Dr. Nienke Van De Sande-Bruinsma, antimicrobial resistance advisor at the Pan American Health Organization.

The Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance aims to help strengthen the infrastructure of national antimicrobial resistance reference laboratories in addition to providing external quality assessment and data management training.

Through case-based examples the online course, Antimicrobial Stewardship: A competency-based approach, equips clinicians with knowledge and tools to improve their use of essential medications in daily clinical practice. As of January 2018, the course has received over 12,300 enrollees from 174 countries, Van De Sande-Bruinsma said.

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly convened for the High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance. Progress toward meeting the strategic objectives outlined in the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance will require political commitment, specific targets, funding and infrastructure, said Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.

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