News and Opinions  –  2023

Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar new Director ReAct Asia Pacific

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Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar is the new Interim Director for ReAct Asia Pacific. She joined ReAct in 2017 as a Senior Research Officer. Dr. Ranjalkar is a medical doctor and has worked in various public health related projects before joining ReAct.

Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar, Interim Director ReAct Asia Pacific. Photo: ReAct Asia Pacific

Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar is the new Interim Director for ReAct Asia Pacific. She completed her M.D. in Pharmacology in 2016 from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Her research was on Therapeutic D​rug ​M​onitoring of antitubercular drugs in children. On successful completion of her​ M.D, she worked as a consultant for the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) in India​. Her ​main ​areas of interest include​​ infectious diseases​ with a specific focus on tuberculosis.

Worked for ReAct since 2017

Dr. Sujith J Chandy. Photo: Therese Holm, ReAct

Dr. Sujith J Chandy, former Director ReAct Asia Pacific says:

– Dr. Ranjalkar joined ReAct early 2017 with prior experience in working in various public health related projects.

– During her period at ReAct Asia Pacific, she has been instrumental in being the fulcrum for the team, and has taken great interest in planning projects, monitoring and documentation.

– Her move to Interim Director therefore will give added impetus to the activities of the node and ReAct as a whole.

ReAct Asia Pacific’s earlier director Sujith J Chandy has left for a new position as the director of International Center for Antimicrobial Solutions (ICARS) based in Denmark. When he joined ReAct in 2016 he started building the node from Vellore Medical College in Kerala, India. ReAct is most thankful for his years with the network and wishes him the best and ReAct are looking forward to future collaborations.

Develop work in region

Now ReAct Asia Pacific welcomes Dr. Ranjalkar to her new position and are looking forward to being led by a Director grounded in science and medicine with great knowledge and an important network to develop ReAct’s work in the region.

Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar, Interim Director ReAct Asia Pacific. Photo: ReAct Asia Pacific

Dr. Ranjalkar, congratulations on your new position! What are your thoughts right now?

– Thank you so much! It feels great and overwhelming too. Although an interim post, the timing is crucial for the node and the network, especially considering the changing AMR landscape.

– I look forward to this challenging and exciting role with support from members within ReAct Asia Pacific and the ReAct network other nodes.

– I am optimistic that I will be able to contribute towards ReAct’s vision and mission, and bring my ideas on board from a low- and middle-income perspective. Besides, the role presents an opportunity to hone leadership and interpersonal skills needed for professional growth.

What are your priorities for ReAct Asia Pacific in 2023?

– From the time ReAct Asia Pacific took shape in late 2016 under the leadership of Dr. Sujith J Chandy, it has always taken a holistic and systems approach in efforts towards containing antibiotic resistance. In 2023 as well, we will carry forward the same approach, based on the overall goal of access to effective antibiotics for all.

– ReAct Asia Pacific firmly believes that for sustained ground-level action on antibiotic resistance, the current top-down approaches could be supplemented with the bottom-up approach, and one of our pilot models was through the Antibiotic Smart Communities project.

– We hope that more and more groups take up and pilot the Antibiotic Smart Community indicator framework  – a framework developed to assess and identify areas that need improvement and thereby design appropriate interventions based on the findings to improve the rational use of antibiotics.

In the longer term – what actions to overcome antibiotic resistance will be important in the region?

– As widely known, low- and middle-income countries already face many challenges in various aspects. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accentuated these problems by posing severe economic implications. Considering antibiotic resistance as a complex, multifaceted problem and as a development issue, a few critical actions for the Asia-Pacific region could include measures such as: robust Implementation of National Action Plans on AMR, significant involvement of civil society organizations, private sector, community leaders and youth from diverse backgrounds and sectors to work on the different aspects and objectives of National Action Plans.

Community based activities, governance and access to antibiotics

Anna Sjöblom, Director, ReAct Europe. Photo: Therese Holm, ReAct Europe.

Anna Sjöblom, Director ReAct Europe says:

– I am very much looking forward to work more closely with Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar and for her to join the ReAct Global Leaders Group.

– We have an interesting year ahead of us when ReAct will start operationalizing our new strategic plan. A plan that includes both on community based activities such as Antibiotic Smart Communities-initiatives, work on strengthening governance and action against antibiotic resistance both on global- and regional- and national level as well as work on improved access to effective antibiotics.

– As a network we will also reach out to new partners and establish new collaborations. ReAct Asia Pacific and Dr. Ranjalkar will be very important in this work.

Dr. Jaya Ranjalkar will be part of the ReAct Global Leadership Group together with the directors from each of ReAct’s five nodes. Her main focus will be development and coordination of the ReAct Asia Pacific node.

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