End July, the workshop “National Workshop on AMR and Antibiotic Use: For Voluntary Organisations” was organised by ReAct Asia Pacific. The workshop was meant as a platform to engage various civil society organizations and sensitise them about the implications of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the need to improve antibiotic use.
The workshop attracted 63 delegates from 31 different organizations. The delegates were from diverse and varied backgrounds ranging from healthcare, health policy, schools and education, to environment and women’s empowerment. The workshop also attracted organisations with international presence like World Vision, Helpage International and Medecins Sans Frontieres, apart from various national, regional and local voluntary institutions.
Sensitise key civil society groups about antimicrobial resistance
The objective of the programme was to sensitise the key civil society groups about the issue of antimicrobial resistance and to encourage them to incorporate aspects of the Global and National Action Plans in the people that they serve.
“There should be a sense of urgency now, in dealing with antibiotic resistance. I have been hearing about antibiotic resistance and the need for rational antibiotic use for the last two decades, without any real change in practice. In fact, irrational antibiotic use has been rising consistently in India.”
Dr Joy Elamon, Director, Kerala Institute of Local Administration, India
The day contained:
- Welcome talk by Sujith J Chandy, Head of ReAct Asia Pacific – he introduced the problem of antimicrobial resistance and how it can impact each one of us.
- Dr. Joy Elamon, gave the inaugural address. He is the Director of the Kerala Institute of Local Administration which trains all the village level bodies in the state. He has been actively involved in public health projects with the government of India and United Nations.
- Sujith J Chandy had session on various factors contributing to antimicrobial resistance, especially the need to improve antibiotic use and also about Global and National Action Plan on AMR.
- Satya Sivaraman, Communications Coordinator, ReAct Asia Pacific, delivered two talks: one on the intricate relation between man and the microbial world or microbiome and another on the role of voluntary sector in tackling the antimicrobial resistance crisis.
- Dr Philip Mathew, Consultant, ReAct Asia Pacific, took a session on Infection Control and Prevention and the One Health approach.
Group discussions yielded ideas and methods to reach out
There was a lively group discussion at the end of the sessions. The delegates were divided into groups and each group was given a topic to discuss, like communication strategies, key messages for communication, role of educational institutions, strategies to reduce antibiotic demand, monitoring use in non-human sectors and possible role of civil society organisations in the action on antibiotic resistance. The group discussion yielded valuable ideas on methods to engage various population groups and the messages for each section of the society.
Calling for joint action
The programme offered all the participants a potent avenue for networking and a melting pot for novel ideas. It gave an opportunity for members of ReAct to engage and interact with the civil society in India, apart from fulfilling the aim of sensitising key individuals and organisations about the issue of antimicrobial resistance. By the end of the workshop, multiple organisations approached ReAct with informal proposals calling for joint action and collaboration. Certain organisations have promised us to open their network for ReAct, so that the message of antimicrobial resistance and rational antibiotic use percolates down.
ReAct Asia Pacific will organize workshop for grassroots organizations
As an immediate follow-up, ReAct Asia Pacific has been requested to organize a workshop for grassroots level organisations in the month of September. The proposed workshop is meant to sensitise and engage organisations working in the development sector, especially among the tribal populations of the hilly regions of southern India.