Our goal is to improve the knowledge and skills of health professionals about fungal diseases through education.
GAFFI has partnered with Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE, see appendix 1) to achieve this critical goal. LIFE will contribute multiple components of what is a massive educational effort, supported by multiple professional societies and industry.
The expertise of the health professional impacts directly on patient outcome, especially in fungal diseases where early treatment is essential. Health professionals must consider a possible fungal infection when dealing with complex problems- eg cancers, AIDS, critical care & respiratory diseases. Some laboratory training is critical to make an accurate diagnosis. In addition the treatment with antifungals is complex and pharmacists must be aware of drug –medicine interactions and therapeutic dose monitoring (TDM).
LIFE with GAFFI has developed the following resources:
Providing accessible online educational resources:
1.1 To provide a comprehensive summary of the most serious fungal illnesses and methods for their diagnosis and treatment, www.LIFE-worldwide.org. The diagnostic section also contains information on the commercially available diagnostic kits here.
The entire site is now also available in Spanish At www.LIFE-worldwide.org/esp and the intention is to translate into other languages.
1.2 The accessibility of good laboratory training is not just a problem in low resource countries. In partnership with LIFE we are developing self–directed learning modules for identifying different fungi in a wide variety of tissues; using only a light microscope and some simple stains A grant from the Fungal Infection Trust has allowed the development of the world’s first online microscopy and histopathology course in fungal disease. This has 4 modules, and is intended to be a self–taught course for those with different levels of prior training and laboratory roles. The first three modules will be available from mid 2015. The fourth module for more experienced professionals will be available in 2016.
1.3 GAFFI has supported multiple educational meetings:
In Brazil: In conjunction with Pfizer and United Medical, two 3 day preceptorships were held on the Clinical Management of Invasive Infections, each with the participation of 30 medical leaders from different regions in Brazil.
In India: The Center of Advanced Research in Medical Mycology and WHO Collaborating Center for Reference & Research of Fungi of Medical Importance in Chandigarh has added the GAFFI and LIFE materials to its regular training program. The center has trained 109 faculty and 78 technicians diagnostic mycology in 17 training courses over 8 years. Short term training in mycology for people from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand. This has resulted in a formal government proposal to develop a national diagnostic mycology network in India, involving 27 centres, which will generate epidemiological data.
In Nigeria: A two day intensive training on the management of invasive fungal infections was held in November 2014, with participation of 40 health professionals. A second meeting will take place in Calabar.
LIFE and GAFFI together will build and develop its educational resources and will continually address new requirements.
Appendix 1. LIFE (Leading International Fungal Education) is an initiative of the UK’s charity Fungal Infection Trust that has supported The Aspergillus Website since 1998. The LIFE website (www.LIFE-worldwide.org) is now translated into Spanish (www.LIFE-worldwide.org/esp)
Resource video on Fungal diseases (Denning, Edinburgh 2015)