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Experts have been warning us for years of the dangers of antibiotic resistance – which is acknowledged as a major global public health problem – but the inappropriate and overuse of antibiotics continues.
Overuse of antibiotics in medicine, agriculture and aquaculture has led to the widespread emergence of organisms that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics. This means that many people are dying or suffering serious health problems as a result of ineffective treatments.
This investigation would examine:
- What do we know about trends in antibiotic prescribing rates, and in antibiotic resistant infections?
- What do we know about trends in antibiotic use in agriculture and aquaculture?
- What impact is antibiotic resistance having upon the community health, health services and health costs?
- What are the drivers of inappropriate antibiotic use, what measures have there been to tackle these, and how effective have these measures been?
- What are the effective interventions that can lead to changes in use at each of medical, veterinary and agriculture sectors?
- What are the gaps in policy and practice, and the barriers to effective action?
- What incentives are required for innovation and research towards new antimicrobials. Is there a role for this in Australia?
- What factors influence transmission of different resistant organisms and are there different effective solutions that can be employed?
Melissa Sweet is one of Australia’s most experienced health journalists. She has been writing about health and medical issues since the late 1980s, and has worked at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Bulletin magazine and Australian Associated Press. She is now freelancing, and her work appears in a wide range of professional and general publications. She also coordinates the health blog, Croakey.
The budget for this story is $4,400 words plus GST. This includes an allowance for research trips to Sydney, Canberra and other centres.
As well as interviewing relevant medical experts, researchers, and policy makers, the story would document the stories of patients who have suffered as a result of this under-addressed problem.
The result would be a 4,000 word story with the potential for regular blog updates and graphics/audio/visual material as appropriate.
This is a joint pitch from Melissa Sweet and Inside Story (http://inside.org.au), which will meet a proportion of the costs.