A commentary today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases urges more international collaboration in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The letter by Debra Goff, PharmD, et al highlights antibiotic stewardship efforts in five countries—the United States, South Africa, Colombia, Australia, and the United Kingdom—that have taken different approaches to the problem but have all adopted national strategies that emphasize government involvement, multidisciplinary approaches, education, and support. Each of these countries has had some success, the authors note, emphasizing the significance of gains made in the two limited-resource countries, Colombia and South Africa.
But these efforts can have an even greater impact, they argue, if stewardship experts reach out to their international partners to share knowledge. “Efforts to mitigate overuse will be unsustainable without learning and coordinating activities globally,” they write.
An example they cite is a mentoring program that brings together infectious disease pharmacists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (where Goff teaches) with pharmacists from South Africa. This program allows South African pharmacist trainees to pass what they’ve learned from their American mentors to other colleagues.
This example of so-called “paying it forward,” Goff and her colleagues write, is just one way in which international collaboration can enhance local and national antimicrobial stewardship programs. But it’s not the only way. Individual stewards from different countries can collaborate on research and publication, offer their expertise for publicly available online stewardship courses, and reach out to other experts on social media platforms to share what they’ve learned from their successes and failures. The authors also argue that stewardship models need to evolve beyond infection specialist–based teams to include other healthcare professional.
“All healthcare providers who prescribe antibiotics need to take ownership, engage in stewardship, and understand the societal burden of inappropriate antibiotic use,” the authors write.
Lancet Infect Dis commentary