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18th November 2021
Blog: World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021

18th to 24th November is WHO’s Annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW). The 2021 theme, Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance, calls on One Health stakeholders, policymakers, health care providers, and the general public to be Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness champions. 

At The Bloomsbury SET, researchers are addressing the fight against infectious diseases in human and animal health, with several projects having a specific focus on AMR.  

One of the larger projects previously funded through The Bloomsbury SET sought to gather evidence and data to investigate the surrounding issues through a series of case studies in Sri Lanka. Led by Professor Ayona Silva-Fletcher and Dr Tierney Kinnison (veterinary scientists from RVC with specialisms in veterinary education), Dr Simon Rofe (lecturer in diplomacy and international studies at SOAS) and academics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, it was considered to be an innovative project, which relied on ‘citizen science’ – and hence the recruitment, training and use of volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ (with limited previous scientific training) was at the heart of the research process. 

This project demonstrated that AMR is as much a social/community issue as it is a scientific one, and because of this, the interdisciplinary research methodology was considered to have added real value: the reliance on citizen science, for example, would have been difficult to justify through ‘normal’ funding channels yet it meant that as well as gathering data there was an opportunity to use the project to inform communities in Sri Lanka of the challenges surrounding AMR. A mobile App developed for the project to collect data on wild animals attracted young people as citizen scientists who were easier to train as champions in the community to raise awareness of AMR and this was an advantage. 

Another project concentrated on ‘Enhancing political economy research skills to tackle infectious disease and AMR challenges’. This joint project between RVC and SOAS aimed to train researchers investigating infectious disease and AMR by equipping them with tools, theory and methods from political economy and heterodox economics disciplines of social sciences in order to critically examine social, economic, cultural and political relations that govern human behaviours and policymaking in low- and middle-income countries. 

In addition to this prior activity, The Bloomsbury SET’s recent additional £1.9 million award from Research England has allowed us to provide further funding, the full details of which will be released soon.  

 

Roo Goodwin, Knowledge Exchange Officer

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