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Julian Nyamupachitu, ReAct: I firmly believe that the youth are our hope and future

We have interviewed ReAct staff across the nodes to learn more about their role at ReAct and their work towards a world free from untreatable infections. Julian Nyamupachitu is Deputy Director for ReAct Africa and has been particularly involved in youth engagement initiatives during 2023.

Julian Nyampachitu smiling toward the camera.
Julian Nyampachitu at the ReAct Africa and South Centre Conference 2023. Photo: ReAct Africa.

What have you learned from working at ReAct?

– One of the key lessons I have learned is the critical importance of multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing antibiotic resistance. ReAct actively engages with a diverse range of stakeholders, including policymakers, healthcare professionals, youth, researchers, and community organizations, to foster collaboration and drive sustainable solutions.

– This experience has highlighted the significance of working together across different sectors, geographical areas and disciplines to tackle this urgent public health issue.

Additionally, being part of a global network that serves as a global catalyst and advocates for addressing antibiotic resistance has been both meaningful and rewarding for me.

– Overall, my time at ReAct has deepened my knowledge, expanded my perspective, and reinforced the importance of collective action in combating antibiotic resistance. It has been an honor to be part of an organization that is seeking to make a tangible difference in the fight against this ravaging pandemic.

Is there something that you have been involved with at ReAct that you are especially proud of?

– One accomplishment at ReAct that I am particularly proud of is my involvement in youth engagement initiatives. I firmly believe that the youth are our hope and future, and it has been incredibly rewarding to work with them and inspire them to take action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

– I had the privilege of being instrumental in conceptualizing, designing and implementing the AMR Leaders Program for Tertiary Students in Africa (AMRLEP). This pilot program aims to raise awareness among students about antimicrobial resistance and empower them to become solution providers for this global health threat. ReAct Africa implemented the program in partnership with Students Against Superbugs-Africa.

“Witnessing the enthusiasm and commitment of the participating students has been truly inspiring” 

– The AMRLEP is a unique pioneering program, and I am proud to have played a key role in its development. Witnessing the enthusiasm and commitment of the participating students has been truly inspiring. The program provided them with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to become leaders in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, equipping them to make a meaningful impact in their communities and beyond.

– In recognition of my efforts, I was humbled to receive an award earlier this year at the ReAct Africa and South Centre annual Conference. This recognition is a testament to the impact the program is making in building youth AMR champions in Africa and affirmed the importance of youth engagement in addressing AMR.

Two students discussing antibiotic resistance
Image from the AMR Leaders program.

You have been involved in several different projects with youth engagement. Tell us more about your/ReAct Africa’s engagement with youth.

– Under the exceptional mentorship of Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, the director of ReAct Africa, the AMR Leaders Program for Tertiary Students in Africa (AMRLEP) has played a pivotal role in establishing a robust network of youth AMR champions across the targeted African countries. The program has successfully empowered student leaders with the knowledge, skills, and passion to actively engage in AMR prevention and mitigation efforts. The program has witnessed numerous success stories, and it has been inspiring to see the impact created by these AMR champions.

– The youth AMR champions have conducted research, formed AMR clubs, and engaged in creative activities such as art and drama to raise awareness about AMR within their communities. They have taken the initiative to organize community engagement programs, spreading crucial information about responsible antibiotic use and infection prevention and control.

Julian addressing students. Photo: ReAct Africa.

“The program has not only provided these student leaders with a platform to make a difference but has also fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility among them. They have embraced their role as ambassadors for AMR awareness and have become catalysts for change in their respective communities.”

– Overall, the AMRLEP has been a transformative program that has empowered student leaders and facilitated the growth of a vibrant network of AMR champions in Africa. The success stories and the tangible actions taken by these champions demonstrates the effectiveness and significance of empowering youth in the fight against AMR.

– The support received from the PAR Foundation and our various co-implementing partners such as the Quadripartite, Africa CDC, International Livestock Research institute (ILRI), World Animal Protection – Africa, Actions des Jeunes contre la Résistance aux Antimicrobiens – (AJRAM), various academic institutions and government ministries has been crucial to the success of the program.

Why do you think that it is important to involve the youth in the question of AMR?

– Involving the youth in AMR is of paramount importance for several reasons. First and foremost, the youth represent the future generation that will inherit the consequences of current actions or inactions. By engaging them early on, we can cultivate a sense of responsibility and empower them to become advocates for responsible antibiotic use and infection prevention and control practices.

– Secondly, the youth have a unique perspective and innovative ideas that can contribute to novel approaches in tackling AMR. They are often at the forefront of technological advancements and social movements, making them well-positioned to drive change and find creative solutions. Involving the youth ensures that diverse perspectives are considered, leading to more comprehensive and effective strategies in combating AMR.

– Lastly, youth engagement fosters education and awareness. By involving young individuals in discussions and activities related to AMR, we can educate them about the risks associated with antibiotic misuse, the importance of adherence to treatment guidelines, and the role they can play in preventing the spread of resistant bacteria. Empowering the youth with knowledge and skills equips them to make informed decisions and become advocates within their communities, amplifying the impact of our efforts to address AMR.

More About ReAct Africa’s Student Engagement:

  • ReAct Africa engages university students in various activities including raising AMR awareness in various universities and supporting the formation and operation of One Health Student Clubs.
  • ReAct Africa has been targeting students from elementary level to tertiary level since 2016 with projects such as One-Health student clubs, Students Against Superbugs (SAS) and the Students Pilot Program.
  • ReAct Africa launched a pilot program in 2021 with the goal to have empowered student leaders in Africa who are problem solvers and solution providers for the Antimicrobial Resistance global health threat.
  • The targeted students can then lead student initiatives in their respective countries and empower other students to engage in AMR through the Training of Trainers approach.
  • For more information about ReAct Africa’s youth initiatives
  • Read more about the student initiatives.
  • Visit the AMR leaders program.