Travelling microbes in the world of One Health

PhD project by Alena Kamenshchikova

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is presented as an urgent global health problem. Travelling of humans, animals and agricultural products, as well as living animals is a crucial contributor to the spread and dissemination of resistant bacteria beyond national borders.

One Health approach has been developed internationally to emphasise interdependence of humans and non-humans, and to address AMR as a shared health concern that requires collaborations.  However, this approach has been also criticised  from different perspectives. Some point to the fact that the ideal of integration is disguising differences in power and perspectives. Others point to the different global contexts of AMR as well as One Health, or suggest to speak about multi species entanglements instead of One Health.

The aim of this project is to understand what is the role of One Health in shaping the policy and practice agenda of AMR in travelling populations. The notion of travelling adds an additional level of complexity to AMR and One Health approach to it. First, bacteria have no national passports and no preferences for socio-economic status of travellers, therefore it moves freely within and between regions. Second, One Health emphasises that AMR is a shared health concern and therefore it requires constant collaborations. However, such collaborations can be practically and conceptually problematic.

This interdisciplinary project develops on the interface of Science and Technology Studies, Ethnography, and Microbiology and Public Health. This research will contribute to the debate about the value and practices of One Health for dressing antimicrobial resistance in travellers.

Articles related to this project:

  • Kamenshchikova, A., Wolffs, P. F. G., Hoebe, C. J., Penders, J., & Horstman, K. (2018). Complex narratives of health, stigma and control: Antimicrobial resistance screening among non-hospitalized refugees. Social Science & Medicine, 212, 43-49. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.012