30 April 2013
“I thought FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) were good for the country,” exclaimed Victoria, a second year medical student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, a state university in the country. “I had no idea about the scope and implications these agreements can have on people’s lives particularly with respect to access to medicines,” she added. Victoria was one of more than 30 participants at a recently convened Workshop on International Health and Antibiotic Resistance, jointly convened by Health Action International Asia Pacific, Third World Network, Penang and ReAct on April 27.
Report of the HAIAP-TWN-ReACT Workshop on International Health and Antibiotic Resistance
At the 5th Malaysian International Medical Students Conference (MIMSC) Monash University Sunway Campus, Saturday 27 April 2013.
This workshop was part of the Annual Conference of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, Malaysian chapter. The workshop which was conducted over two sessions in the morning and afternoon discussed the the themes of International Health and Antibiotic Resistance.
At the morning session, participants heard presentations on Medicines and Health by Evelyne Hong, Senior Researcher, Head of Health Programme, TWN, Emerging Infections, Antibiotic Resistance and the Role of Big Pharma by Shila Kaur, Coordinator, HAIAP and Free Trade Agreements and Impact on Health and Medicines by Dr Niyada KiatyingAngsulee, Drug Study Group and Drug System Monitoring and Development Program, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand and Co-chair of the Governing Council, HAIAP.
These were preceeded by an Overview of International and Regional Perspectives on Health and Medicines by Dr Mike Chai, Coordinator of ReACT South East Asia. Students felt free to interject and interact with questions and observations, and the session proved lively and entertaining.
Following the success of the morning’s session, the second session in the afternoon saw a packed tutorial room with students vying for places to sit. The afternoon’s session was led by Dr Niyada who provided an excellent Global Overview of Antibiotic Resistance and Regional Perspectives with supporting data and activities specifically from Thailand. A very entertaining short video screening of correct hand washing techniques for health care providers in hospitals and health care facilities, was very well received by participants.
Niyada’s presentation was followed by a presentation from Ms Chuah Gin Nie, lecturer at the Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Universiti Sains Malaysia, who was also representing ReAct at the meeting. Students learnt about Initiatives to Combat Antibiotic Resistance within the Malaysian country context.
At the end of the afternoon’s session further discussions ensued with students seeking clarification on prevailing antibiotic prescribing practices and the current status of national policies and regulations on antibiotics. All workshop conveners came away from the sessions with the impression that its objectives which were: to engage and increase the awareness of undergraduate medical students on antibiotic resistance and impress upon them their leadership role as public health gatekeepers; initiate follow up joint activities with medical students and; to plant the seed of health activism, had been achieved.
Prepared by Shila Kaur, Coordinator, HAIAP