This year, we’ve started doing Cambridge-specific trainings thanks to our amazing training officer, Anna! The training sessions have covered a range of different topics, from Into to Global Health with Kim Van Daalen, Project Management with Antonias Tofias, Gender Based Violence with Will McInerney, and Access and Advocacy with Rhiannon Osborne, the SFGH National policy lead. Most recently, we have kick-started our AMR Training Series collaborating with the PAR foundation, which funds research, education, and information to prevent antibiotic resistance. The PAR foundation focuses on prevention of infections in elderly populations and fills a gap in policy in focusing on prevention.
Antimicrobial resistance is a consequence of bacterial evolution: overuse or misuse of antibiotics leads to development of resistant strings of bacteria. Many factors contribute to this: horizontal gene transfer spreads antibiotic resistance, meaning different types of bacteria can share or send resistant genes to each other. The overuse and mis-use of antibiotics and overprescriptions or not finishing your course of antibiotics are all drivers of higher antibiotic resistance.
Due to these factors, Cecilia Tili provided insights on behavior change and policy prioritization. She suggested our prioritization focused on the resource allocation side for driving resistance, or “fixing the budget” of antimicrobial resistance, and shift our attention to spend more where the problem is the biggest. She pointed out that many programs are local and generally benefit the US and the UK, and other developed countries, so this often obscures the problem being the largest in developing countries, which might be due to many companies with large problems, but national health agencies might have lower trust with the public and corruption create problems. The connection between trust in health agencies and AMR efficacy was an interesting insight that helps us consider the global burden of disease in the context of AMR policy changes.
Secondly, last week we spoke to Sigrid Lupieri on the challenges facing refugee health and international aid. She pointed out the social dynamics of women and children who are seen as neutral and donor priorities are given more attention and aid in refugee health, especially in Jordan. She discussed that 80% of refugees are not in camps, contrary to popular belief, and that specifically in Jordan the cost of healthcare for refugees has increased significantly, and non-communicable diseases are a major cause of premature deaths but are not getting funding She left us with some very topical questions to consider: a value judgement of what lives matter? And how the politics of aid might influence our conceptions of who is worthy of living good and life and whose life is worth. It. How might we go about ensuring equitable conceptions of value?