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Dr Clare Chandler addresses the John Glyn Society

Colfe’s welcomed Dr Clare Chandler, Co-Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Antimicrobial Resistance Centre, to speak at the latest John Glyn Society meeting. Her research interests lie in the application of anthropological methods and theory to policies and practices relating to medicine use, diagnostic testing, management of febrile illnesses and health care improvement interventions.

Review by Charlotte (Year 12)

“Dr Chandler came to Colfe’s to discuss her role as an anthropologist and how it relates to the progression of modern day medicines. She first informed us of her responsibilities explaining that as an anthropologist she looks into different cultures – their characteristics, beliefs and development – and how these aspects differ from one culture to another.

Anthropology is incredibly important to the development of new medicines as it allows us to compare the different methods and drugs used to treat diseases in different places. This comparison helps us to identify the strengths of our methods (and other’s methods) to figure out what is working and what isn’t so we can adjust and improve treatments – thus making them more efficient. There are many aspects that can be studied and implemented into Western medicine so it is important to be aware of them and to respectfully study them.

Dr Chandler then explained that as we have advanced we have begun to rely heavily on antibiotics as a treatment and that they are often consumed even when they are not the solution. Antibiotics should not be used to treat viruses, as viruses invade and reproduce inside of host cells in the body. Therefore taking antibiotics when suffering from a viral infection will not be beneficial and can actually be harmful. Over time, the misuse and overconsumption of antibiotics has resulted in the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This will cause many problems for us if this continues, as our current working antibiotics may be completely ineffective in a few years. It has been found that areas with poorer healthcare services or without free healthcare, as in the US, are suffering more heavily from antibiotic resistant bacteria because they look for the easiest and most accessible solution.

We have learnt from Dr Clare Chandler that we can avoid the progression of antibiotic resistant bacteria by ensuring all healthcare services are aware of the dangers of misuse and be sure to only prescribe antibiotics to people who really need them.”

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