News and Opinions  –  2023

33rd ECCMID – ReAct’s highlights and impressions

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On April 15-18 the 33rd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) took place in Copenhagen (Denmark). The congress counted over 15,000 registrations in a hybrid format, more than 150 sessions, and representatives of 146 countries.

ReAct's Andrea Caputo Svensson, Global Health Advisor and Maria Pränting, Scientific Coordinator attended the full program and shares three highlights.


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization was part of the GLG AMR panel at ECCMID. Photo: ReAct Europe

For the first time, the 33rd ECCMID was preceded by a high-level meeting in partnership with the Global Leaders Group (GLG) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The event, also live-streamed, featured a panel of keynote speakers, including:

  • H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth, Crown Princess of Denmark
  • H.E. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Chair of the GLG AMR
  • H.E. Sophie Løhde, Minister of the Interior and Health of Denmark and
  • Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

As the title of the event stated, “Forging partnerships between science and policy: A high-level antimicrobial resistance event”, the meeting placed the fundaments for an interactive and cooperative platform where scientists and policy makers can sit around the same table to address AMR-related issues and solutions.

ReAct welcomes this partnership and hopes for wider involvement of civil society organizations in upcoming congresses and high-level events, such as the 2024 UNGA High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Civil society engagement and representation

Andrea Caputo Svensson, ReAct Europe, speaking up for civil society representation during the AMR policy session on lessons learned from vertical programs. Photo: ReAct Europe.

Several sessions directly and indirectly referred to the important role that civil society has in the response to antimicrobial resistance, including their meaningful engagement for creating:

  • political buy-in
  • holding governments accountable, and
  • identifying solutions that meet public health needs.

Among others, these two sessions strongly features this message:

“What can be learned from successful vertical programs to mitigate AMR” chaired by Haileyesus Getahun, WHO and Jyoti Joshi, ICARS. Featuring presentations from Claudia Denkinger, Heidelberg University Hospital and Kitty Van Weezenbeek, WHO

“Antibiotic drug shortages: causes and consequences” presented by Jennifer Cohn, GARDP and Esmita Charani, University of Cape Town

Take-home messages

The constructive discussions between panelists, speakers, and participants highlighted the need for:

  • wider civil society involvement
  • building synergies with civil society active in other related fields
  • increasing representation, especially from low-and middle-income countries
  • sustainable financing of civil society organizations and
  • stronger support from policy makers.

Gender and AMR

Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa co-led the session “How to incorporate gender in AMR together with Esmita Charani. Here with Andrea Caputo Svensson, Global Health Expert and Maria Pränting, Scientific Officer, both ReAct Europe. Photo: ReAct Europe.

ReAct was pleased to see gender and equity taking centre stage in the session “How to incorporate gender in AMR”, arranged by ICARS and led by Esmita Charani, University of Cape Town, and Mirfin Mpundu, ReAct and ICARS.

The session dived into gender as a social construct, and how it influences research and health, as well as its impact on antimicrobial resistance and the lack of inclusivity in policy- and decision-making.

The speakers highlighted how gender and power imbalance are further exacerbated in low-and middle-income countries where minorities are severely challenged by:

  • more stringent socio-cultural norms,
  • low levels of education for women,
  • limited health information and
  • lack of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

A full room of participants attended the session which sparked a constructive dialogue between the speakers and the audience, highlighting the need to mainstream gender in antimicrobial resistance through:

  • gender-disaggregated data
  • gender-sensitive polices
  • inclusion of diversity of experiences and
  • reduction of inequities while advancing global health goals.

It was also announced that there will be an ESCMID study group formed around the topic “Who are we leaving out?”. ReAct looks forward to see the outcomes of the work of this group.

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