Innovate4AMR now invites student teams from around the world to design innovative solutions for antimicrobial stewardship in resource-limited, healthcare settings. Antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, occurs when bacteria develop the ability to stop the drugs used to treat them. Antibiotics are the cornerstone of many of the miracles of modern day medicine, from cancer chemotherapy to organ donation. The loss of effective antibiotics would mean reverting back to a time when simple infections might become untreatable. Each year, 700,000 people die due to drug-resistant infections and, if unchecked, this number may rise to 10 million deaths a year by 2050 — more than the number of people that die of cancer today.
Antibiotics should, therefore, be considered a resource to be used with care. Innovate4AMR seeks to engage student teams to propose strategies to tackle the underuse, overuse and misuse of antibiotic prevalent in many settings. These problems persist too often today, from hospitals and clinics to outpatient pharmacies. In addressing AMR, student teams working across disciplines have much to contribute in proposing how to redesign the healthcare system. The competition’s website provides educational resources, so no prior experience in working on AMR is needed to participate in the competition.
“We hope to engage and enlist the next generation of leaders in developing innovative, scalable approaches to address the challenge of conserving existing antibiotics. Those in the healthcare sector have a particularly crucial role to play in finding new solutions,” said Anthony So, MD, MPA, Director, ReAct Strategic Policy Program and IDEA (Innovation+Design Enabling Access) Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
ReAct and the IDEA Initiative are teaming up with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)–representing 1.3 million students from 127 countries–to organize this global competition.
Teams will have until September 17 to put forward impactful and sustainable solutions. Winning teams will present their final proposals to an expert panel at a capacity building workshop, with the support of the World Health Organization and the South Centre, in Geneva, Switzerland, during the World Antibiotic Awareness Week in November 2018. Resource experts will work with student teams to enable them to operationalize their projects.
As Jonne Juntura, Liaison Officer to Student Organizations, IFMSA, notes: “In recent years, our members have grown increasingly concerned about the consequences of antimicrobial resistance on their communities. With Innovate4AMR, we aim to engage students across the globe to join the fight for a world free of untreatable infections.”For more information, visit Innovate4AMR.org.