Fleming Fund AMR fellows visit Edinburgh
The Fleming Fund supports training and capacity building for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in low and middle income countries.
The University of Edinburgh is the host institution for Fleming Fund fellows from Uganda, Kenya and Malawi. The fellows are all addressing AMR in their professional roles, taking a One Health approach to integrate solutions for human and animal health.
Like everyone else, we have struggled with not being able to meet fellows in person over the past two years. However, with the gradual easing of travel restrictions at the end of last year we were finally able to invite all 13 current fellows – six from Malawi, five from Uganda, and two from Kenya – to visit us in March 2022.
Over the three weeks in Edinburgh the fellows undertook a very full programme of meetings, training and site visits. This included specialist technical sessions on bioinformatics, statistics, whole genome sequencing and advanced microbiology, alongside training in communications and qualitative analysis.
Hospital and farm visits
The human health fellows met with the AMR stewardship team at the Western General Hospital, and with the director of the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
The animal health fellows visited the University of Edinburgh farm at Langhill to observe animal care practices and procedures for antibiotic residue testing in milk. They were also able to tour the small and large animal hospitals at the University’s vet school, and observe some of the clinical pathology laboratories.
There were opportunities for the policy fellows to meet with senior AMR policy makers at the Scottish Government, and to attend a high-level workshop on the impact of Covid-19 in Scotland.
The visit was of great value to me. It gave me enormous exposure to small and large animal clinical practice, laboratory diagnostics and regulatory framework for AMR, the One Health approach in Scotland, science communication principles and the probable future collaborations that may arise between the fellows and the team at the Roslin institute.
Back in my country, I can now ably communicate pitched AMR messages to different stakeholders and guide other colleagues on how to communicate science. My capacity in data analysis and drawing interactive maps using R-software which has been built will shape the quarterly bulletin graphics for the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Center.
Together with other Ugandan fellows, we shall analyse the data that was collected by the previous cohort of fellows and use the results to inform policy and planning, including the National Action Plan for Health Security.
A high point of the visit was the Fellowship Symposium where all fellows presented different perspectives of their work on AMR, sharing their insights, experiences and hopes for the future.
We were delighted that Fleming Fund Fellowship Scheme coordinator Eileen Chappell, and the Project Manager Adrienne Bernstein, were also able to join us for the day.
It wasn’t all work though, and the fellows made trips to the top of Arthur’s Seat, North Berwick and out to sights in Midlothian before heading back home. Truly, a visit not to be forgotten!
We are delighted for the chance to contribute to the global challenge of AMR and hope the partnerships and friendships established through the Fleming Fellowship Scheme will open doors to long-term collaboration.