Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: AreYou Ready?’ is open for enrolment now and enables learners to explore the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and how we can respond to themeffectively.

Griffith University’s Infection Prevention and Control Program Director and expert,Dr Peta-Anne Zimmermanleads the global discussion on why we need to look at the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and how we can all play a part in containing and preventing them in the future.

“Unfortunately people do not automatically see how easily disease can be transmitted and how it is related to the many choices we make regarding our food, health and lifestyle. People often, for example, expect antibiotics to solve common human infections or be used for agricultural purposes, when really the overuse of antibiotics has exacerbated antibiotic effectiveness and we now have issues with antimicrobial resistance.”

“We are aiming to also raise awareness of how the spread of many viruses is aggravated by deforestation and urbanisation within communities, therefore destroying the wildlife habitation and exposing humans to these animals and their habitats.”

“It’s about becoming a more aware global citizen, not only in learning the science of infection and how microorganisms spread, but about discovering the challenges that re-emerging diseases and bacterial resistance pose to disease prevention in diverse communities,” says Dr Zimmerman.

“If we can become more aware of the environment and how it impacts us, then we can better understand the consequences on us, our health, our children and our future, so that we can make more informed decisions.”

Available on FutureLearn, the social learning platform, ‘Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: AreYou Ready?’ will connect individuals from around the world where they will have the opportunity not just to explore various challenges in the prevention of infectious diseases in diverse healthcare and community settings, but to hear from Griffith University experts and Gold Coast University Hospital infection control specialists on how they can be part of a global movement to contain disease effectively and prevent future pandemics.

Learners in this course will explore how people from a variety of backgrounds can make a difference and find out how together we can contribute to the transformation of infection control globally.

The course is available to join from 23 April and takes around three hours per week to complete, though learners can complete the course at their own pace. The learning modules are in bite-sized chunks and available 24/7 to enable flexible study. Learners are provided with the tools they need to be informed on the basic principles of effective containment and prevention of infectious disease.

Dr Zimmerman added: “The course is designed for anyone concerned about infectious disease including health professionals, students, researchers, educators, policy makers, politicians and health system funders.”

“We then provide learners with the tools and skills to enable them to make a difference in the prevention of disease and how we can assist in our day-to-day lives.”

“Using a wide range of interactive learning methods such as videos, animations, diagrams and discussions, we explain the case for improved infection control and how everyone is able to contribute.

“Learners are provided with opportunities to reflect and connect with other learners and international experts to discuss and share ideas about how to build a community of practice on how they live their life and improve infection control.”

“There are also lots of opportunities to see at first-hand how individuals are taking extraordinary action and making a real difference to global infection control. For example, one of our short videos documents how a doctor from the Gold Coast University Hospital was a part of the clinical response medical team to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone in 2015.”

The coursePlagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: AreYou Ready?is open for enrolment now and is due to begin 23 April. If you can really help prevent the spread of infection — why wouldn’t you?

As with most FutureLearn courses, the course can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 7.5 million people from over 200 countries across the globe — a community that is continuously growing — it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.