Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Project planning workshops in Blantyre and Lilongwe

February 2021: The project is investigating the links between antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use on poultry farms in Malawi. 

Due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, mentors were unable to travel to Malawi and fellows were unable to come to Edinburgh. However, the fellows were able to continue many activities with online input from the team in Edinburgh. These activities have recently included the development of a One Health collaborative project. To support project development, the fellows took time to attend two planning workshops - one in Blantyre, in southern Malawi, and the second in the capital Lilongwe. During these workshops they discussed the overall objectives, outcomes, practical implementation and ethical framework for the project. Their mentors from the University of Edinburgh attended the workshops via Zoom to provide guidance and expert advice.  

The project, which involves all six fellows, is investigating the links between antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use on poultry farms in Malawi.   

The fellows are working on a project titled "Characterising the resistance patterns and AMR drivers of Escherichia coli isolated from poultry, humans and the environment in the central region of Malawi: A One-Health approach.   

The study will examine the patterns of antibiotic resistance in E. coli isolated from poultry on different types of chicken farms and compare these profiles with those in samples collected from farm workers and the local environment. The project will also assess knowledge, attitudes and practises related to antibiotic use on poultry farms and among farm workers. 

Malawi project planning workshop
Project planning workshop in Blantyre (from left to right) : Ronald Chitatanga, Michael Luwe, Williams Legison Mwantoma, Chikhulupiliro Gloria Chimwaza, Harry Lawrence Milala, Catherine Isaac Kumwana, Geoffrey Bisanda (Mott MacDonald), Dr Titha Dzowela (Ministry of Health)

The meeting provided a learning platform for grantees to improve their collaboration and identify how best to implement the One Health concept. The ultimate goal of developing a joint project proposal was achieved.

Mike LuweSurveillance fellow in Animal Health, Animal Health Officer, Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development

 

Malawi project planning workshop
Project planning workshop in Lilongwe (from left to right): Mike Luwe, Williams Mwamtoma, Chikhulupiliro Chimwaza, Harry Milala, Catherine Kamwana and Ronald Chitatanga.

There is something particularly vibrant about working with people from different academic and professional backgrounds that keeps me engaged and learning. The last project planning workshop taught me that no matter how far-fetched a goal is, there is nothing that is insurmountable when approached with different skill sets. I believe that the AMR problem in Malawi is being addressed in the right way with this Fellowship. A One-Health approach is definitely the way to go.

Ronald ChitatangaSurveillance fellow in Human Health, Paediatric and Child Health registrar, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital