At the Sustainable Food Trust we’ve long been concerned about the misuse of antibiotics in farming. Most recently, two studies found the superbug MRSA in pork on sale in UK supermarkets, which raised concerns for both animal welfare and for those farm workers who may have come into contact with the infection, as well as the general public.

But if we are to tackle antibiotic resistance, we will have to look at the use of antibiotics both in farm animals and humans. As our Policy Director, Richard Young, confirmed in a previous article, “There may still be time to avert Armageddon, but only if we all recognise that from now on antibiotics must only be used to treat serious illness in humans and in animals.”

Antimicrobial Stewardship: Managing Antibiotic Resistance, a new online course delivered by the University of Dundee in partnership with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, is aimed at healthcare professionals and will help to increase their understanding of what antimicrobial stewardship is and how to apply it in an everyday setting. The course is led by Dilip Nathwani, who has more than 25 years’ experience in improving the use of antibiotics through better education. He says: “Antimicrobial stewardship is a fast growing field that aims to address this issue by managing our use of antibiotics to slow down or reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.”

Over six weeks, participants will develop the skills and interventions that underpin antimicrobial stewardship, including the promotion of responsible prescribing, alongside the waste and harm from antibiotic overuse and misuse, thereby enhancing patient safety and outcomes. They will also have the opportunity to interact with other healthcare workers all over the world to discuss what antibiotic resistance means and why it is so important to preserve the effectiveness of our antibiotics for future generations.

This course is available worldwide and is completely free. Sign up now by visiting www.futurelearn.com.

Photograph: Orbis

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