The world is tackling one of the most urgent challenges of modern medicine - Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and Innovate4AMR announces its 2018 global online competition looking for innovative and creative solutions in resource-limited healthcare settings for a world free from the fear of untreatable infections.
Innovate4AMR, an organization empowering health professional to take initiative in addressing AMR, identifies real-life local projects that have the potential to make a positive and scalable impact on communities and focuses on implementing these ideas rather than just rewarding them.
Antibiotics are the cornerstone of many of the miracles of modern day medicine from treating infections to preventing infections during cancer chemotherapy and organ donation. The loss of effective antibiotics would mean reverting to a time when simple infections were untreatable. Each year, 700,000 people die due to drug-resistant infections and, if unchecked, this number may increase 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. Yet underuse, overuse and misuse of antibiotics are prevalent in many settings, from hospitals to outpatient clinics.
According to press release issued by World Health Organization, AMR occurs when microbes develop resistance to the drugs we use to treat infections. With very few truly novel classes of antibiotics coming to market, global attention has focused particularly on antimicrobial drugs that treat bacterial infections. The more antibiotics are used, the greater the risk that bacterial resistance will develop. It is a global health emergency that will affect treatment worldwide.
There remains an urgent need for developing innovative, scalable approaches to address the challenge of conserving existing antibiotics, share expertise, and collaborate to generate solutions for a pressing issue that can have measurable impact in countries around the world.
The solutions proposed will be judged on the depth of understanding of the problem context; alignment and realism of the proposed strategy to the existing AMR related social and economic landscape of the chosen geographic area; technical and scientific soundness; basis on clinical evidence; potential for real-world and even long-lasting applicability and impact to the selected setting; financial and logistical feasibility and sustainability; and value added to the relevant stakeholders.
Teams are encouraged to involve multiple disciplines, including but not limited to medicine, public health, engineering, agriculture, supply chain, business management, and finance.
The competition’s website provides educational resources, so no prior experience in working on AMR is needed. Teams should be composed of between 2 to 5 people. They are encouraged to draw from interdisciplinary talents and are even welcome to seek out members from around the world via Innovate4AMR Facebook pages. A team can only submit one proposal, but individual members can be in multiple teams.
Winners will attend a capacity building workshop in Geneva, Switzerland during the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which will run from November 12-18, 2018.
Each winning team will be reimbursed for their travel expenses up to $5,000 for two members per team (additional team members may attend at their own expense) for flights, registration fees, lodging, and some group meals. At this conference, they will have the opportunity to meet with health experts and make connections with groups who could help operationalize their proposed solution. There is also potential to have follow-on, technical support of teams through pairing with regional offices and/or civil society organizations if the team proposals align well with these organization’s current work plans.