Enhancing the competencies of health workers to address antimicrobial resistance

11 June, 2018

The community AMR National Action Plans has today opened a 5-days discussion on Enhancing the competencies of health workers to address antimicrobial resistance through education and training. Below is the welcome message. You can join the community here: www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/national-action-plans/discussion-fo...

** Enhancing the competencies of health workers to address antimicrobial resistance through education and training**

The first objective of the Global action plan on AMR aims to improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education and training.

In 2017, WHO published a mapping report on AMR and health workforce education and training that outlined a number of useful tools and resources while recognizing the gaps associated with the varying standards, quality and implementation of the tools especially in lower resource settings. Among others, it pointed out an opportunity to develop better competency frameworks and/or educational curricula and training opportunities for healthcare workers as a means to reduce this gap.

The objective of this discussion is to introduce the WHO AMR competency framework as well as to stimulate broader discussions on how it can enhance education and training to strengthen health workers competencies in managing AMR in policy and practice settings.

The competency framework is one of several products identified and being developed by WHO in collaboration with partners and leading research institutions to help countries meet the first objective of the GAP AMR. Please click this link to download the competency framework: http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/WHO-HIS-HWF-AMR-2018.1/en/.

The framework is a matrix menu of core and additional knowledge, skills and attitudes for health workers in the field of human health. It is designed to be used as a reference guide and applied according to local priorities and needs. This principle is useful in the practical application of the framework as countries are not expected to immediately meet all the standards contained therein. Instead, a self-paced and selective approach based on local needs and availability of resources is advocated from an implementation point of view. It is also important to stress that the framework is not a scope of practice for specific occupational groups and should not be interpreted as such. It is

targeted mainly at academic institutions, educators, accreditation bodies, regulatory agencies and other users. The aim is to ensure that, over time, health workers are equipped with the requisite competencies at pre-service education and in-service training levels to address AMR in policy and practice settings. It is not expected that, in the immediate future all health workers, will be able to do all that is outlined in the framework ­ rather, it is a goal to be aspireed to.

Recognizing that antimicrobial teams are usually interprofessional in nature, and that effective implementation requires shared understanding among health workers, the framework incorporates the key occupations and roles that are commonly involved in the sequence of events and scenarios leading to the prescription and use of antimicrobials. It also includes a sample statement of shared goals that can be adapted and used locally at facility levels or as part of professional ethos and statements. The competency framework may be used to plan for AMR skills auditing and strengthening, quality improvement measures and optimization of antimicrobial stewardship roles or functions.

WHO has also published useful related education and awareness resources to improve antimicrobial prescribers’ competencies in daily clinical practice. You can find the course details here https://openwho.org/courses/AMR-competency. Also useful , in conjunction with the competency framework, are the antimicrobial stewardship advocacy posters highlighted by Ingrid Smith in her discussion on the topic ( available in the library at https://ezcollab.who.int/amr-nap/library/h8rp7j2y?o=lc) . These are easy-to-understand infographic key messages on effective antibiotic stewardship for the public, prescribers and policy makers.

While AMR education should ideally be delivered in a “One health” approach, this competency framework is a first step aimed at the health sector. It is hoped that it will be a helpful guide to identifying service providers (including policy makers), their education and training requirements and mapping their roles and functions according to local regulations and needs. Understanding the local needs of students and practicing health workers will help to make solutions relevant and effective.

We hope you will find the competency framework useful to meet your needs and have posed a few questions here to stimulate the discussion. Thank you for your inputs ­ as always they are hugely helpful to us iin determining how best to meet the needs of people on the ground.

**Questions for discussion:**

1. In your setting, what are the current challenges facing education and training of health workers on AMR as a topic?

2. Can you share any of your experiences or case studies on efforts to scale up health workers’ abilities to address AMR??

3. How would you envisage using the competency framework to support your local efforts to improve health workers AMR competencies? Is there a scope for ensuring the availability of similar competencies for health workers in plant and veterinary medicine?

** Additional resources:**

1. Mapping educational opportunities and resources for health-care workers to learn about antimicrobial resistance and stewardship. Human Resources for Health Observer-Issue No.21; 2017. http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/health-observer21/en/

2. WHO repository of education and training tools. Available at https://ezcollab.who.int/amr-nap/library/grvrmp15?o=lc


Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines


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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org