Summary of talk:
The health workforce in low and middle income countries is faced with many challenges, including staffing shortages, poorly financed and resourced facilities, insufficient education and training, an increasing burden of disease, issues in services delivery for rural populations, and patients with often low health literacy and non-adherent behaviors. An example of these challenges is found in an ongoing research project which is examining the potential effectiveness of medicines and therapeutics committees (MTCs) in primary health centers (PHCs) in addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the state of Karnataka, India. AMR is a global public health problem that is affecting the delivery of effective health care while adding significant strain on the financial resources of health systems. In India, this is exacerbating the existing burden of infectious diseases as it encumbers the inadequately financed and poorly resourced health sector serving the public. Additionally, AMR adds financial strain on individuals and families due to the costs of illness such as missed work or turning to the private sector for treatment. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) has been identified as one of the key strategies towards the prevention of the emergence of AMR. As part of global and national efforts to address AMR, one important and sustainable way forward is to strengthen AMS at primary health centers (PHCs) by using medicine and therapeutic committees (MTCs). This project aims to identify the areas in need of strengthening MTCs by first identifying current prescribing and use patterns of antibiotics as well as the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of health care professionals regarding antibiotics and antimicrobial stewardship. Interventions such as training health care professionals, addressing barriers and challenges to appropriate prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics, and community health education events can then be implemented and measured for effectiveness under the stewardship of MTCs in preventing AMR.
Dr. Craig is a social and behavior change researcher, educator, and trainer with more than 10 years of experience primarily in low-resource settings. His research and expertise includes behavior change interventions, public perceptions of health and health care, doctor-patient trust, and cultural influences on health behaviors and beliefs. His work focuses on strengthening the health workforce by translating research into practical strategies in health behavior change, health communication, and patient engagement and counseling. Dr. Craig collaborates with the World Health Organization, government organizations, and institutions of higher education in Kazakhstan, South Africa, India, and the U.S. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and technical reports.