Antimicrobial Academy 9-month program
Antibiotics to treat infections are the most commonly prescribed medicine in remote Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This high level of prescription is needed to treat the common, serious infections that are well reported in the north. However, the downside to antibiotic prescribing, is that bacteria may develop mechanisms that stop the antibiotic from working. This is called antibiotic resistance and is a really big problem in remote Australia. For example, skin infections caused by golden staph have a one in two chance of being resistant to the standard antibiotics. Worse still, if the golden staph enters the blood stream via the skin causing sepsis, it is critical that the right antibiotic is selected as quickly as possible to prevent death from sepsis.
The HOT NORTH Antimicrobial Academy is a 9-month program for 12 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health care workers (pharmacists, doctors, nurses or Aboriginal Health Practitioners embedded in clinical care in the north) interested in upskilling in antibiotic use, audit, stewardship, surveillance, and resistance. Candidate nominations to participate will come from interested health care organisations who support the candidate to develop skills and implement change in their organization. Fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues with these skillsets will be critical for safe prescribing, improved stewardship and advocacy to ensure that remote living Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are included in national efforts to address antimicrobial use and resistance.
The training will include skills in how to:
- Perform antimicrobial stewardship audits;
- use surveillance skills to collect, understand and utilise antimicrobial resistance data;
- advocate for antibiotic resistance issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to policy makers and the National AMR Strategy.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a critical risk, affecting Australia’s remote living Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families at some of the highest reported rates in the country. HOT NORTH has made this as one of the five key themes of the research program, which aligns with the attention given globally to this issue. The World Health Organisation declared AMR as one of the biggest health threats, with up to 10 million lives lost by 2050, extreme poverty for 24 million by 2030 and billions of dollars in health care costs and lost productivity for the global economy.
The HOT NORTH Antimicrobial Academy provides a meaningful opportunity to transfer skills from urban Australia to northern Australia and create a cadre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander antimicrobial users, advocates and spokespeople to partner with and continue to improve health care delivery, research platforms and advocacy.
Skills transfer for Indigenous Health Care Workers to lead and advocate on AMR safe prescribing, improved stewardship and advocacy to ensure that remote living Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are included in national efforts to address antimicrobial use and resistance.
9-month program in 2021
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health care workers (preferentially pharmacists, doctors, nurses , dentists, Aboriginal Health Workers embedded in clinical care in the north)
Candidate nominations to participate will come from interested health care organisations who support the candidate to develop skills and implement change in their organization.
Upskilling in antibiotic use, audit, stewardship, surveillance, and resistance with monthly zoom lectures, mentors and a face to face in Darwin in August.
Lead Investigators/Academy Team
Professor Asha Bowen, Head and Skin Health, Telethon Kids Institute (WA)
Dr Steve Tong, Associate Professor, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (VIC)
Dr Trent Yarwood, Clinical Director, Qld Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and Co-Chair Statewide Infectious Disease Clinical Network (QLD)
Acting Professor, Kirsty Buising, National Centre Antimicrobial Stewardship (VIC)
Dr Teresa Wozniak, Menzies School of Health Research (QLD)
Dr Lorraine Anderson, Medical Director, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (WA)
Mr Mike Stephens, Director, Medicines Policy and Programs, NACCHO – National Association of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACT)
A/Prof Bhavini Patel, Executive Director Medicines, Top End Health Service (NT)
Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Director, Telethon Kids Institute (WA)
Dr Christine Connors, General Manager, Darwin Region & Strategic PHC Primary Health Care Branch, Top End Health Service (NT)
Feb: Introductory lecture and Welcome to the Academy. Review of participant’s skillsets, learning objectives and goals for the programme.
Participants complete pre-Academy survey regarding knowledge, attitudes and practices about Antimicrobial Surveillance, Stewardship and Resistance
March Full Day 1 (long zoom): Introductions, basics of ‘What is AMR?’, ‘Common infections in Aboriginal health services’, ‘Spectrum of antimicrobials’, ‘What is antimicrobial stewardship?’. ‘What is the NAPS audit tool?’, ‘How do I do AMS in my organization?’, ‘What do we know about AMR in primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’, ‘What do we know about antimicrobial use in primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. The workshops will use case-based examples throughout.
April: Introduction to HOTSpots (antimicrobial resistance tool) led by Theresa Wozniak
May: Standard Drug lists and other tools used for stewardship in the North
June: Guidelines in the north and how these are developed and used for stewardship
July: Communicating Drug Resistance to health consumers
August Full Day 2: ‘Antimicrobial stewardship in practice’ – examples from hospitals, community settings and Aboriginal health services. Practical of conducting an AMS audit in remote communities and of assessing AMR surveillance data. Following this workshop, participants will be encouraged to conduct an audit (similar to our pilot) for one primary health service supported by local AMS services, or conduct an assessment of AMR in their community.
September: International perspectives on surveillance and AMR
October: Candidates present their final projects and report on audits | Participants complete post-Academy survey regarding knowledge, attitudes and practices about Antimicrobial Surveillance, Stewardship and Resistance.