Medical students present their innovative solution to a panel of international experts in Geneva
Medical students Kapil Narain (fifth year) and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman (first year) were selected by the World Health Organization and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to an international panel of experts.
A diversely organised panel of scientists from various fields such as public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, behavioural scientists, communication experts and implementation strategists listened to their solution and had given them feedback on how to further refine their proposal.
The two young aspiring doctors have individually made great strides in their academic careers. They continue to display academic excellence with the aim of contributing to the betterment of health systems and policies.
"Mohamed and I are fortunate for having been given such a prestigious opportunity to present at an international platform. Being recognised by such global giants in healthcare is something for us to be proud of and hold in the highest esteem. Meeting and engaging with leading experts in the field of public health was an exhilarating experience," said Narain, a fifth-year medical student.
The two passionate individuals who had also recently presented their intervention at the Conference on Antibiotic Stewardship and Conservation in Africa are developing an app to improve patient compliance to medication.
When questioned about the app, Suleman, who is a recent UKZN pharmacy summa cum laude graduate and a current first-year medical student, mentioned: "Given that patient non-compliance to medication is a significant contributor to antimicrobial resistance, Kapil and I have designed an innovative approach using cellphone-based technology to send automated reminders via text messages to patients to take their medication on time. This mobile health intervention seeks to improve patient compliance to treatment, thereby significantly reducing antimicrobial resistance."
This system works in a patient-specific manner as patients will receive these reminders at specific time-points with instructions on how to take their medication, as per their prescription.
Narain and Suleman are also grateful for having visited the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva. At the WHO head office, they were briefed on how high-level meetings are convened and the manner in which all member states around the world come together to discuss policymaking and decisions that drive the course for healthcare.
Narain and Suleman were also given special access to the WHO Emergency Operations Room, whereby all emergency outbreaks across the globe are monitored. Access to this room is limited, as vital and delicate information regarding health matters of every country are displayed on the screens. Information that has not been made public and are currently being investigated are shown on screens.
The two also had the prestigious opportunity of meeting and speaking with the current Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Hanan Balkhy. The Assistant DG had congratulated them on their outstanding work and expressed her joy knowing that there are passionate youth who are determined to find solutions to growing challenges that the world faces. Narain and Suleman are honoured for having been in the company with some of the globe's highest authorities in terms of healthcare and decision-making.