Josephine Yolisa Nalule ’10

Major

Molecular Biology

Project Title

Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership

The problem of antimicrobial resistance has received relatively little recognition in many developing countries, at the same time that it has gained immediacy in high-income countries and this is largely because of poor surveillance for resistant microbes. The death toll of resistant bacterial infections may, in fact, be largest in low- and middle-income countries. Two million children under 5 years of age die each year from pneumonia, nearly all in these countries and this mortality is undoubtedly greater because of increasing resistance of the main bacterial causes of pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza) to common antibiotics, but the limited laboratory capacity and lack of national surveillance that characterize most developing countries has kept this problem hidden.

However we can contain/delay/slow down the development of this resistance by taking action in the activities where humans contribute to this development. In my internship, I was posted in Kenya by Resources for the Future, DC, to help in the creation of a country profile/situation analysis, in order to set the context for policy solutions and opportunities for dealing with antibiotic resistance. In particular I was working in a Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) alongside Dr. Sam Kariuki, a molecular microbiologist to collect information on the epidemiology of antibiotic-treatable diseases and levels of antibiotic resistance in Kenya. This information was mainly got from literature and studies done locally. It was found that antibiotic resistance levels to first line treatments were quite high among patients. These results and outcomes were presented at a 2 days conference that sumarized the way that antibiotics (and drugs, generally) flow through the country (including how they are acquired by patients), legal and regulatory requirements for antibiotics (and drugs, generally), and surveillance systems that capture information on aspects of antibiotic use and resistance patterns in the country. I enjoyed my experience in Kenya. I learned a lot about antibiotics and how the problem of resistance is a really big issue. I hope to work in a field such as this after I graduate.



Internship Year

2009

Project Category

Health

Organization(s)

Resources for the Future, Washington, DC and Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

Mentor(s)

Ramanan Laxminarayan