Antimicrobial stewardship online course successfully organized in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

An open dialogue and certificate award ceremony was held on 30 June 2015 at the Medical Faculty in Skopje regarding the online course Antimicrobial Stewardship: Optimization of Antibiotic Practices. This meeting was organized by the Medical Faculty in Skopje and the Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation (Studiorum) in collaboration with Stanford University, United States of America, and with support from WHO/Europe, the WHO Country Office and the Ministry of Health. Implemented for the first time both nationally and regionally, the course represents an institutional impetus towards strengthening human capacities in the field of improved antibiotic use and reduced antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

An opportunity to discuss up-to-date information regarding antibiotic consumption and antibiotic prescribing practices at both primary and hospital levels in the country, as well as global efforts to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, the meeting also presented preliminary results of the course achieved at national level.

The meeting was opened by the Dean of the Medical Faculty in Skopje, Professor Dr Nikola Jankulovski, who emphasized the importance of education of medical professionals and the Faculty's commitment to improved professional attainment of all colleagues, using the opportunities of the new media. The meeting was addressed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Jovica Andovski, who pointed out the importance of intersectoral collaboration and whole-of-society approaches, especially relevant to the growing threat of AMR and widespread, inappropriate antibiotic use.

Attendees were also addressed by Dr Danilo Lo Fo Wong, Programme Manager, Control of AMR at WHO/Europe, who gave a retrospective of the global efforts and actions in the AMR fight, recognizing the progress made nationally. He also underlined the importance of further and continuous awareness-raising activities and professional education targeting both health professionals and the general population.

Developed by Stanford University and available in English on an e-learning platform, the 4-week long course was successfully completed by 55 practitioners and health professionals at all health care levels in the country, thus improving the human capacities for health regarding effective prevention and control of infections in hospital settings and rational use of antibiotics.