Mumbai: One of India’s leading multinational pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer India and Americares India Foundation, announced the launch of OPEN-AMR an Online Platform for Education among Nurses on Antimicrobial Resistance. Americares India Foundation, a health-focused relief and development organisation, has joined as the execution partner. OPEN-AMR is a web-based platform that can be accessed by any nurse anywhere in India in seven different languages: English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Marathi. Courses on the platform are available free of cost to the nurses and hospitals. The courses will focus on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices and Antimicrobial Stewardship Practices (AMSP) under antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is one of the world’s top 10 global public health threats, according to the World Health Organization. Additional courses will be included in subsequent years.
The platform was unveiled at India’s first “Antimicrobial Resistance Summit 2022” by SMT KK Shailaja Teacher, Hon’ble Former Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Kerala and Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services, Government of India. The Summit was organised by IHW Council as the knowledge and awareness partner. Reputed stakeholders from across the government, policymakers, healthcare experts, reputed medical and research institutions and scientists came together to discuss two of the most critical areas related to AMR at the summit:
- Challenges of infection prevention both in terms of health outcomes and economic costs
- Bridging the vital gap in antibiotic resistance, keeping in mind how AMR could well undermine the United Nations’ mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally
Dr Kamini Walia, Scientist F, Programme officer AMR, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, ICMR; Prof. (Dr) Roy K George, National President, Trained Nursing Association India and Dr Urvashi Prasad, Director, Development Monitoring & Evaluation Office, NITI Aayog were few of the key panellists at the Summit.
Speaking on the value of this programme, Sharad Goswami, Senior Director-Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Limited, said, “Nurses are pillars of the hospital ecosystem in India and help in the efficient delivery of healthcare and in infection control. We believe that nurses can play a critical role in ensuring that good antimicrobial stewardship and infection control measures are practised in hospitals. For many years now, tackling antimicrobial resistance has been a global and local priority for us at Pfizer. We are pleased to partner with Americares India Foundation and Medivarsity to make OPEN and the courses on AMR available to every single nurse in India.”
Commenting on the effort, Dr Atul Goel, Directorate General of Health Services, Government of India said, “I’m happy to be part of the AMR Programme organised by Pfizer and its partners. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing public health concern, and the Government of India has taken cognizance through the implementation of the National Action Plans against AMR. We are happy to see the efforts that Pfizer and its partners are making to address the high burden of AMR in India. I would be glad to be part of the movement to control the menace and play an important role as DGHS if the pharmaceutical industry can play a responsible role in overcoming it.”
Designing the audio-visual courses and the full curriculum was a multi-staged process and involved several experts and stakeholders from Pfizer, Americares India Foundation, and Medvarsity which is the technical partner for this programme. The classes are available for all nurses, at different designations and levels of education and professional experience, from students to administrators and nurse supervisors. After the initial registration, nurses may select the course that optimally meets their professional requirements and receive a certificate on completion of each of the courses.
Commenting on the programme, Shripad Desai, MD and Country Director, Americares India Foundation said, “We are pleased to partner with Pfizer and Medvarsity to launch OPEN-AMR in regional languages for nurses across India. I am confident that if nurses receive the right kind of training, they can become powerful advocates and enforcers of antimicrobial stewardship practices to help slow down the spread of AMR. It is estimated that AMR will cause two million deaths in India by 2050[ii]. We need to take quick, concrete action today if we want to cause any reduction in that burden.”
The OPEN-AMR programme further strengthens Pfizer’s Project Parivartan which is focused on addressing the current Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) challenges in healthcare facilities. Project Parivartan is also developing a model for Institutional Capacity Building to deliver facility-based IPC and antimicrobial stewardship in 11 small and mid-size hospitals across India. OPEN has already been launched in 9 of the 11 hospitals and has received excellent feedback from on-ground healthcare professionals so far.
Commenting on the value of OPEN-AMR, Dr Devikumar Kelkar, Director, Narayani Hospital, Nashik said, “On this platform, our nurses have been able to access over 11 hours of high-quality training on AMR and grow in their understanding of how best to tackle this public health challenge at the hospital. We are grateful to Pfizer, Americares India Foundation and Medvarsity for putting together this much-needed curriculum and for making it so freely accessible to all.”
The six courses currently being offered on OPEN are:
- Introduction to Infection Prevention & Control and Antimicrobial Stewardship
- Common Infection Prevention and Control Practices
- Basics of Antimicrobial Stewardship and Core Components
- Advanced Infection Prevention and Control Practices
- Healthcare-Associated Infections and their Control Practices
- Antimicrobial Stewardship Principles and Action Planning