By Siana Brealey, CGHP Communications Volunteer

In this blog, CGHP volunteer, Siana discusses our new health partnership with Kenya, and the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.

Siana is in her final year of 6th Form based in Cambridge. She is keen to study Medicine, and has a developing interest in global health sparked by an international background and time spent living in central Asia and southern Africa. 

Antimicrobial resistance is a huge issue worldwide, and if we don’t tackle it, everyday procedures will become very dangerous. Caused by the misuse and overuse of antimicrobial medications, infection-causing microorganisms adapt to resist their effects.

So, how do we address the issue?

“It is fundamental to share experiences from different parts of the world if we want to tackle the global threat of Antimicrobial Resistance “, said Cristiano Serra, a Cambridge-based clinical pharmacist who is joining our team to work with counterparts in Kakamega, Kenya.

Previous activity in our ongoing Kampala-Cambridge partnership on antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) has been hugely successful. Ronald, a pharmacist in our partner hospital in Kampala has noted that he has seen tremendous change both in his personal and professional development and in establishing good practice. In this partnership, we have been able to work on AMS in the context of maternal and neonatal health services. Specifically, improving infection prevention and control practices as well as co-developing and delivering training and raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance. Ronald is leading the onsite production of alcohol gel which has been established within the project, and has said, “The establishment of an alcohol hand rub production room … has caused a registered decrease in the number of sepsis cases”. At the root of our partnerships is sharing knowledge, so it is fantastic that Ronald has now been able to train many pharmacy interns with the knowledge and experience he has gained.

We are very excited that the funding for the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) has been extended and that we are continuing the partnership between Cambridge and Kampala, forming a new partnership with Kakamega County Teaching Referral Hospital in western Kenya. Cristiano has said, “this project will be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and hopefully contribute to improved patient outcomes across all three sites”. In fact, this past week a team from Kakamega are visiting our partners in Kampala to learn and share experiences and learning.

We are working with our Cambridge and East African partners to continue raising awareness amongst healthcare workers about the immediate threat of antimicrobial resistance, to improve practices to reduce postnatal and neonatal infections, and to develop protocols, guidelines and support governance to ensure improvements are sustained beyond the lifetime of the project funding.

The impact of these partnerships goes even further too. UK staff involved in the partnership with Kampala that started in 2019, were instrumental in leading the COVID-19 response at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and all attributed their ability to cope with the unprecedented experiences and difficulties, to the learning gained whilst in Kampala and engaging in health partnerships.

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