Research

The aims of AMRIWA

  • To determine the occurrence and sources of AMR in West Africa
  • To follow the flow of AMR genes between humans, animals and the environment
  • To apply the One Health approach: joining environmental, microbiological, sociological, and medical expertise
  • To extend training in DNA-based research methods to West Africa
  • To provide African students opportunities for study visits to Finland
  • To prevent the spread of AMR in West Africa.

Methodology

In 2019, we collected approx. 3000 samples representing various sources and sites, which we estimated to be important for the transfer of resistance genes in the West African context. These included human and animal faecal samples, as well as samples from environmental sources that people and animals interact with and within.  Since 2020, we have been characterizing these samples using a variety of molecular biology techniques, which include:

  • SmartChip qPCR array technology to detect selected resistance genes in a subset of 1000 samples to locate hotspots of emergence in order to prevent AMR emergence and spread;
  • Metagenomics analysis of hospital wastewaters to understand what kind of resistance genes and pathogens are potentially released to environment in countries without proper wastewater treatment and sanitation;
  • Epic-PCR, which is applied to a set of environmental samples to find out which bacteria carry which AMR genes;
  • Traditional chromogenic plates to isolate pathogens and subject them to antimicrobial resistance tests and whole-genome sequencing.

By combining microbiological and sociological results and analyses, the aim is to strengthen professional capacities and provide valuable information on the flow of AMR genes that can support local efforts to tackle AMR. The sociological study we apply:

  • Ethnographic and qualitative methods (documentary analysis, interviews, participant observation, focus groups, and participatory visuals) to develop a deeper, more contextualised, understanding of AMR policy, and the socioeconomic and material drivers of AMR,
  • These methods are used to document domestic and professional practices in rural and urban households, poultry and livestock breeding, urban market gardens, clinical settings, and at sites of AMR governance and policy-making.

The project’s impact will extend beyond academia by contributing to national and international AMR policy and public knowledge of AMR and its evolution.

Results

Results of our work and other related materials will appear here

Further links

Team’s activities related to AMR:

For further information on AMRIWA, contact the project coordinator Kaisa Haukka (kaisa.haukka@helsinki.fi) or the sociology lead Salla Sariola (salla.sariola@helsinki.fi)