News and Opinions  –  2015

Highlight from World Antibiotic Awareness Week: COLOR AND GAIETY MARKED THE ACTIVITIES IN THAILAND

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30 November 2015

East Timor Delegates at Antibiotic Smart Use (ASU) Field Trip.
East Timor Delegates at Antibiotic Smart Use (ASU) Field Trip.

Cultural performances, seminars, workshops and a field-trip marked the culmination of activities for the Global AMR Awareness Week undertaken by ReAct South East Asia and its partners in Thailand.

Starting with the launch of a ‘Gardening for Health’ kit and an exhibition around it in Chiang Mai on 19th November the week ended with dance performances, puppet shows, story telling sessions on the theme of antibiotic resistance.

On 22nd November a dozen delegates to ReAct South East Asia’s annual meeting participated in a study visit the original pilot site of Thailand’s Antibiotic Smart Use (ASU) program, a school and a health centre in Muaklek sub-district of Thailand’s Saraburi province.

The ASU experimental program, which started in 2007 as a project of the Food and Drug Administration of the Thai Ministry of Public Health aims to change the social norms that guide use of antibiotics in hospitals and in the community. The ASU approach involves focusing on three common ailments- upper respiratory tract infections, especially common cold with sore throat; acute diarrhea and simple wounds– for which antibiotics are often prescribed though they are not needed. The program is now being implemented nationwide and also replicated in several parts of South-East Asia.

On 23rd November the RSEA annual meeting concluded with delegates from East Timor, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Thailand presenting reports on the ABR situation in their countries. Discussions also included proposals for studies and interventions to be undertaken in 2016 to generate evidence, raise public awareness and promote adoption of policies on AMR as per the WHO’s Global Action Plan.

From 24-26 November RSEA’s partners in Thailand organised a three day meeting of medical professionals, civil society groups, students and health officials in Bangkok to discuss. In between the more academic sessions, a variety of puppet shows, dance and song performances highlighting the need for rational use of medicine and avoiding needless use of antibiotics were presented by artists from around Thailand.