Pharmacist Antimicrobial Stewardship mentoring program

Hospital pharmacists play important roles in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). AMS programs aim to optimize diagnosis and treatment of patients with infections as well as reduce unnecessary antimicrobial use and unexpected consequences (e.g. toxicity) of antibiotic therapy.  There is good evidence that effective AMS programs reduce antimicrobial resistance in community and hospital situations.

The CDC (USA) describes seven core elements of hospital antibiotic stewardship: Leadership Support, Accountability, Pharmacy Expertise, Action, Tracking, Reporting and Education[1]. A prominent role is emphasized for pharmacists- to quote: “infectious diseases-trained (ID) pharmacists are highly effective in implementing AMS efforts and improving antibiotic use”.

In 2022, PRIDA ( ) established a network of expert AMS pharmacists who are available to facilitate AMS training, support and mentoring to Hospital Pharmacists practicing in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa. Lead by Ms Mieke Hutchison-Kern from Therapeutic Guidelines, from October 2022,  these experts have presented a fortnightly series of online tutorials for pharmacists focused on Clinical Pharmacy and Infectious Diseases. Tutorials have commenced again in 2023.  To participate, please contact Mieke by email – mhutchinson-kern[at]

Each hospital location is assigned a lead expert pharmacist mentor and one of two associates. A separate WHATSAPP group for each group is established for day to day communication. It is recommended that a regular short zoom session occurs to enable discussion and planning of local AMS or DTC initiatives.

Mentoring activities will reflect the needs and interests of pharmacists at each location. Mentors can provide clinical education and advice as well as supporting mentees to develop to develop practical strategies to implement AMS activities in settings with limited resources.

The AMS Pharmacist mentor program is a subgroup of the PRIDA AMS Working Group.


Medical Microbiology Postgraduate Diploma 2023

We are pleased to announce that expressions of interest are now invited for this year’s course which is to be CIFAL/UNITAR accredited. 

Medical Microbiology Postgraduate Diploma 2023 Prospectus 2Apr23 .Cost will be AUD$50 per semester – a fee has been introduced to pay for the course accreditation.

Enrolments for 2023 have closed (60 students were accepted).   If interested in the 2024 course, please email the course coordinator –  john.ferguson[at] before 31st January 2024.  We will then contact the prospective student, ask them to complete a short questionnaire about their background and arrange an enrolment interview in February 2024 prior to enrolment.

Background:  To improve and standardise the training of medical pathologists in microbiology, PRIDA has developed an annual online medical microbiology course that originated in 2017 when it was attended by PNG pathology trainees.   The course faculty includes  experienced pathologists, physicians, scientists and researchers.   The PRIDA postgraduate education web resource reflects much of the previous course content.  In 2022, there were 27 successful course students. 

PRIDA Solomon Islands Visit

Collaboration with staff at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara has been a long-term activity for the Australian Not for Profit Organisation, Pacific Region Infectious Diseases Association (PRIDA).

For the past 8 years, prior even to the formation of PRIDA, the relationship has developed through a mutual understanding of the challenges in providing high-quality health care to the Solomon Islands community and a shared vision to improve health outcomes, particularly in relation to infectious disease. Care is taken to ensure all activities are grounded in capacity building through education and mentoring, with focus given to areas identified by NRH (National Referral Hospital) personnel.

The Lab Crew:
Wendy Jackson, Bianca Graves, Ron Songcuan, Dr Patrick Harris, Christina Komolo, Hilda Zoleveke, Dr Nicola Townell, Claudia Tobasala, Joseph Ghidu and Russell Cole (PPTC)

PRIDA members have undertaken regular visits to Honiara (once or twice a year) to provide face to face support since 2014. PRIDA works closely with the NRH staff and donor partners to ensure that donated equipment is fit for purpose, can be maintained, and that a supply of consumables is available to ensure sustainable ongoing use of the equipment. Capacity building in the laboratory has also involved bringing the NRH lead microbiology scientist to Australia for training within an Australian diagnostic microbiology laboratory. Our team mentor both local clinicians and pharmacy staff to improve rational use of antibiotics, a key step to preventing development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Our infection control (IPC) specialists work closely with NRH as well as SI ministry of Health IPC staff. 

Patrick Harris presenting at the antibiotic treatment workshop attended by Clinicians.

Engagement in the DFAT supported COMBAT-AMR project has allowed for a large multidisciplinary team of PRIDA members to travel Honiara. In November 2022 a team of 9 members undertook a range of activities in support of COMBAT-AMR. The team consisted of 3 Infectious Disease/Microbiology Physicians, 2 Senior Microbiology Laboratory Scientists, a Clinical Pharmacist,  and 2 Infection Prevention and Control specialists. We were also joined by a WAH specialist from Wateraid and Surveillance specialist from the WHO collaborating centre for surveillance of AMR.   

During their time in Honiara this team undertook a range of activities including daily teaching ward and laboratory rounds, education workshops, auditing activities, and continued to strengthen the relationship between the two organisations. A hospital wide point prevalence study was undertaken to determine rates of multi-drug resistant organism colonisation at NRH, the first of such study in the Pacific region.  Work to establish a national local alcohol hand rub production facility continued with a small trial batch produced.

PRIDA has a number of online training programs to improve the microbiology knowledge base in the Asia-Pacific region and provides a foundation for remote support between in-country visits. This includes the PRIDA & PPTC Postgraduate diploma of clinical microbiology for scientists, which is graduating its first year of students this month – 19 students have successfully completed the program, including two SI candidates. For the past 5 years, we have also hosted the popular PRIDA medical microbiology program for doctors working in the Asia-Pacific region. PRIDA host fortnightly journal club as well as pharmacy tutorials for interested healthcare workers in the region.

Hilda and Joseph receiving their Clinical Microbiology Post Graduate Diplomas.
Elliot Puiahi, Russell Cole, Wendy Jackson, Hilda Zoleveke, Joseph Ghidu, Nicola Townell, Janella Solomon and Bianca Graves
Antibiotic susceptibility testing workshop with Microbiology lab staff

PRIDA Journal Club 2022

PRIDA is again  facilitating a journal club focused on microbiology and infectious diseases.  If you wish to join, do this via this WHATSAPP group . You will then receive communications about session access and reviewed papers. 

The sessions run via zoom every second Friday and are used to bring together helpful discussion on interesting health literature relevant to LMIC locations. With presenters from many different countries, any range of medical topics are encouraged to be presented from the relevant peer reviewed literature. The course facilitators assist presenters to select a paper for review and are able to provide practical assistance prior to their session via zoom.

Access is free and there is no obligation to present or comment, however all are encouraged to participate and ask questions. The sessions are NOT recorded.

First session will be on the 1st March 2022
These are commencement times by location/time zone:

7.15am: New Delhi, India
7.30am: Kathmandu, Nepal
9am: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
11am: Dili, Timor-Leste
12pm: Port Moresby, PNG
1pm: Honiara, Solomon Islands
1pm: Port Vila, Vanuatu
2pm: Suva, Fiji
3pm: West Samoa Time, WST

Flyer: PRIDA JOURNAL club 2022 3Feb22