20 November 2015
A “Gardening for Health’ kit”, to educate the public on antibiotic resistance, prevention of infectious diseases, nutrition, food safety and medicine was launched in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 19th November as part of the Global Antibiotic Awareness Week activities.
The launch was an exhibition set up at the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. The kit, consisting of simple gardening tools and manuals on gardening and illustrated booklets on nutrition, health and medicine was released by Dr Niyada Kiatying-Angsulee of the Drug Systems Monitoring and Development Center (DMDC). Dozens of health professionals, took part in the release ceremony, which included a workshop on growing organic food for self-consumption at home.
Dancin with the Bacteria
The workshops, titled “Dancing with the Bacteria”, were attended by academics, health professionals, organic farmers, communicators, environment and food safety activists The “Dancing with the Bacteria” concept focuses on three sets of activities, all of which are closely related to the role of the microbial world in daily life. These include promotion of organic food and farming practices, understanding the link between food/nutrition and health and the rational use of medicine, especially antibiotics.
Distribution among urban poor communities and school children
The kits, which are currently in prototype form, will be field tested and improved prior to large-scale distribution among urban poor communities and school children to encourage them to take up kitchen gardening. They will also be used as a resource for training community health workers on the link between nutrition and infectious diseases and also the need to curb the use of antibiotics through healthier lifestyles and greater awareness of both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
The “Gardening for Health” kit idea emerged from a series of workshops, organised by ReAct along with the DMDC, Sustainable Alternative Development Association (SADA) and Chiang Mai Green City Initiative in Chiang Mai during 2015.