Doctors and medical expertise
Unfortunately, many doctors know little about fungal diseases. This reflects limited education in medical school and postgraduate courses and the hidden nature of many of the diseases. What knowledge there is diffused among different specialties, notably dermatology, infectious diseases and microbiology, haematology, radiology, respiratory medicine, allergy and immunology and critical care. In part this is appropriate, but in part not. Education without the means of achieving a diagnosis is problematic, and exacerbated if treatments are not available. Other health professionals, notably specialist nursing staff in HIV/AIDS, haematology, allergy and respiratory medicine, and pharmacists can contribute materially to patient understanding and improved outcomes.
The need for local and national leadership in fungal diseases
Excellent clinical links greatly strengthen the effectiveness of both the laboratory and patient care, but clinical expertise in fungal infection and allergy covering several specialities is rare. In well-developed countries, diagnostic mycology laboratories tend to be the repository of knowledge about fungi. Institutions that deliver the best care have well-recognised clinical experts in fungal disease who advise others.
A new generation of clinical experts in fungal diseases
With an increasing number of chronic fungal diseases requiring treatment, there is an opportunity to train a new generation of clinicians with fungal expertise. With appropriate diagnostic support, major improvements in diagnostic success and improved patient outcomes are assured.
LIFE’s approach to improving clinical expertise
>> Provide short courses on the management of chronic and allergic fungal disease of the lung.
>> Build national diagnostic centres of excellence for all aspects of medical mycology, especially
rapid antigen testing, susceptibility testing, therapeutic drug monitoring and molecular mycology.
>> Work with dermatologists to improve fungal disease recognition and management.
>> Facilitate career building fellowships, sabbaticals, research projects etc to ‘grow; local clinical expertise, especially in pulmonary and systemic fungal disease.
>> Initiate local and national epidemiology surveys, which require accurate diagnosis for adequate data collection, as a tool for local awareness, supporting laboratory infrastructure and engagement with the international mycology community.
Link -Physicians working