International experts gather to tackle public health threat of antibiotic resistance

December 4, 2014

World-renowned experts in the fields of antibiotic resistance will come together at a symposium at Murdoch University to talk about an issue which has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest public health challenges.

In Australia, the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) appearing in the community and acquired during international travel represents a looming public health issue.

School Dean Veterinary and Life Sciences, Professor David Hampson, said if the issue was not addressed we may enter an era where common and treatable infections become life threatening.

“Given the regional and global scale of the challenge, a multidisciplinary approach drawing together the scientific, technical and policy aspects of antimicrobial resistance is required,” Professor Hampson said.

“By holding the Symposium we are aiming to build on the strategic and policy work already underway in Australia and overseas to contribute to the effectiveness of governance processes at global, regional and national levels.”

The Murdoch University Symposium Antimicrobial Resistance: Addressing the One Health Security Agenda is held in partnership with the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House in London and will take place on December 8 at Murdoch’s South Street Campus.

International keynote speakers include Professor Dame Sally Davies (via video link), Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor David Heymann, Head and Senior Fellow at the Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House in London and Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, Vice President Research and Policy, Public Health Foundation India.

Professor Davies together with Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England will give an overview of global and national response to AMR.  She will discuss how AMR is a quintessential ‘one health’ issue, meaning it requires a collaborative effort of multiple health science professions working together with related disciplines and institutions on a local, national and global scale.

Professor David Heymann will discuss the link between the use of antibiotics in animals and the effect on human health. He will discuss the delicate need for a balance of priorities between human and animal health and whether political leaders are sufficiently informed about the issue.

Professor Ramanan Laximinarayan will explain how global governance structures will need to accommodate a paradigm shift in existing public health practices in order to address the AMR challenge.  He will also discuss the need for a policy mechanism to act quickly to resolve national or international disputes in cases where we need to protect public health.

For more information about the AMR Symposium visit www.murdoch.edu.au/AMR/

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