To mark One Health Day, we revisit the holistic concept spanning human, animal, and environmental health, which is one of the Fleming Fund’s guiding principles.
Master Trainers to strengthen One Health AMR surveillance
Supported by the Fleming Fund, the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and its partners are enhancing AMR data surveillance training to empower countries across Africa and Asia in tackling drug resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is among the global top-ten public health challenges, threatening to worsen if no action is taken.
As part of the human resources capacity strengthening project Qualifying the Workforce for AMR Surveillance (QWArS), the regional grantee ASLM, managed by Mott MacDonald, has developed a Master Training Trainer programme across 14 of these countries.
Image shows: QWArS Regional Master Trainer Workshop in Lusaka, Zambia.
In phase I of the Fleming Fund programme, the QWArS project investment towards workforce development builds AMR surveillance capacity among laboratory and epidemiology professionals from One Health sectors.
This supports and facilitates the required competencies and criteria by each country's AMR Containment/Coordination Committee (as part of their National Action Plan) and relevant authorities.
The initiative has so far trained over 300 participants from 14 African countries: Cameroon, Eswatini, Gabon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, Zimbabwe; and three Asian: Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Laos.
As part of Phase I of the QWArS project, a Master Trainer Training Track was developed to further advance AMR surveillance expertise and effectively deliver training within their respective countries.
Since its implementation in April 2022, alongside the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh (ICDDR-B), the advanced training track has established 69 microbiologists and epidemiologists from human and animal health sectors as Master Trainers in AMR data surveillance, across Africa and Asia.
Now in its second phase, the QWArS regional grant aims to increase the number of qualified personnel to meet the AMR surveillance training needs at the country level, and reinforce the animal and environment components while facilitating country ownership of the training programme.
Bangladesh is one of the three South Asian countries benefiting from the initiative, with project stakeholders creating a blueprint for sustainably transitioning QWArS within local AMR surveillance structures.
This will provide partner opportunities to strategically align QWArS activities and effectively support the trainers within the Fleming Fund’s broader regional and country investments.
The Master Trainers will be multi-sectoral across human and animal health, food safety, and environmental health, embodying a One Health approach in the fight against AMR.
As we move to phase II, capacity building will increase for the AMR surveillance workforce, incorporating the Fleming Fund strategic shifts. These encapsulate One Health surveillance, clinical engagement and evidence use, promoting the effectiveness of AMR data production and analysis towards sustaining gains made from phase I.
Fleming Fund Regional Grants Coordinator Luna Parry at Mott MacDonald.
Initiated by the Train-the-Trainer (ToT) Workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya, in phase I of the Fleming Fund QWArS project, 12 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in microbiology and epidemiology from the QWArS programme in Bangladesh played a pivotal role in the training programme.
Here, 45 participants from 11 Fleming Fund priority African countries and 24 from priority Asian countries received specialised training from the SMEs in facilitating subsequent QWArS Regional ToT Workshops as Master Trainers.
The participants studied adult learning theory and developed training materials to bolster their capability and resources, equipping them to deliver practical AMR surveillance training in their respective countries.
In phase II of the Fleming Fund regional grant, the Master Trainers will, with support from mentors, facilitate the cascade of QWArS training to the second cohort of participants selected in-country.
Master Trainer Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya for QWArS SMEs. Credit: ASLM.
Teacher and trainer
The successful completion of these workshops has resulted in a competent pool of QWArS Master Trainers across Africa and Asia. These highly skilled Master Trainers can now support in-country QWArS Training during phase II, significantly contributing to AMR surveillance efforts.
I have been teaching for the past 15 years and attended many trainings, but until today, I hadn’t fully appreciated the difference between teaching and training.
Dr Shaqil Shams, QWArS participant from Bangladesh.
The teaching materials were outstanding, with well-selected examples of pragmatic pedagogical scenarios that made learning intuitive and easily applicable.
Dr Beatrice Achan, QWArS participant from Uganda, praised the programme.
As part of the Fleming Fund’s continued support towards addressing resources for AMR surveillance functions at diverse levels, phase II will see a second cohort of participants appointed to the QWArS Master Training programme from criteria based on lessons learned from phase I.
The country’s Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination Committees (AMRCC), with cross-sector stakeholders, will help select participants from microbiology and epidemiology fields engaged in AMR surveillance at the national level for the QWArS phase II training programme.
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