Master’s student’s project inspired by AIGHD presentation

A presentation on antimicrobial resistance by one of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development’s (AIGHD) board members has inspired a thesis project for Master’s student Loes van der Laan.

Loes is a Master’s student in the Research Master Global Health program, offered jointly between the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC and the University of Amsterdam. Last week, she went to Ethiopia to begin conducting interviews and gathering data as part of her thesis.

The project is focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one AIGHD’s priority research areas – and a topic that is relatively new to Loes. She first became interested in the area after seeing AIGHD Prof. Constance Schultsz present on AMR.

“Right away, I was extremely intrigued and knew she’d be the right person to contact,” said Loes, who has an undergraduate degree in neuroscience.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a hot topic and it’s becoming more of a problem. I wanted something that would make me step outside my comfort zone and learn more about the policy side.”

Constance and AIGHD postdoctoral fellow Christopher Pell are supervising Loes’ project.

Currently, there is limited data on AMR in African countries due to several factors, including lack of laboratory capacity required to analyze clinical specimens that may contain AMR bacteria. During her visit, Loes will use the tuberculosis (TB) surveillance network in Ethiopia as a case study to assess the possibility of using the TB surveillance system to support and enhance the AMR surveillance system in Ethiopia. The end goal is to strengthen the AMR surveillance system so comparable, quality AMR data can be reported to the World Health Organization for future planning.

As part of her three-week trip, she will be working with the African Society of Laboratory Medicine and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute to conduct the interviews and collect data. She returns in August to conduct an analysis, and write the final report and article, with aims of having the study accepted for publication.

(Photo caption: Loes van der Laan and her office in Ethiopia)