Now that the jet lag is gone for good and I have found my marks, time to start posting here ! I left Oxford on the 29th (after a week of frantic lab work to finish that one last experiment) and arrived in Bangkok a week ago.
Today, I’ll talk a bit about our motivation for this project, as well as our plan for the next three months.
As you may or may not know already, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem world-wide, and put us at risk of being unable to treat infections and make key medical procedures (such as caesarean section or chemotherapy) too dangerous to perform. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance , commissioned by the UK Prime Minister to the economist Jim O’Neill in 2014, predicted that 10 millions people will die from antibiotic resistant infections in 2050 – so more than currently from cancer ! (this number is however to be taken with a grain of salt, given the lack of surveillance data to properly estimate the burden of AMR).
One of the first step recommended by this Review to tackle AMR is to improve global awareness of across the board, from patients to farmers, doctors, children and teenager. This last audience will be our target, and what’s better than a game to reach children !
So what is our plan ?
First, I am looking at the literature about AMR awareness in Thailand – what Thai people do know, what they don’t, what are their attitude and use of antibiotics, in order to determine what are the key concepts and ideas we want to convey. Talking with doctors and anthropologists working on AMR is also on my list, as the last thing we want is spreading the wrong message !
Second, creating the game itself, and play testing, play testing, play testing. The mechanisms of the game I created before for our lab – Superbug, about which I’ll talk hopefully later – were kept purposely very simple due to the format of outreach events and came together fairly easily, but I am planning on being more ambitious this time, and getting a game people would keep playing on their own time, while keeping the science sound and relevant. I won’t have the help of the formidable Natalia this time for the art, but hopefully my Photoshop skills will be up for the challenge. Obviously a lot of testing will be required, but the reception at MORU has been very positive so far, and I am looking forward to have a lot of guinea pigs.
Third and last, bringing the game to its target audience – Thai children. Once we have a working game the next step will be to translate it in Thai, and bring it into schools MORU already has a partnership with. We will then measure the impact of the game in term of enjoyment, comprehension and knowledge acquired. The ultimate step will be spreading the word about the game, so it will continue being used even after the end of the project.
Ambitious ? Maybe ! But I am very looking forward to see how much we can achieve and how far we can go.
I’ll try to post here regularly (with a next post talking about MORU, the institute hosting me), and don’t hesitate to leave a message below or contact me if you have any questions or want to get involved !