News and Opinions  –  2018

Antibiotic resistance on agenda for The Prince Mahidol Award Conference: A policy stage led by low and middle income countries

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Under the theme “Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases”, this year’s Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2018 will give the challenge of antibiotic resistance prominent attention, reflected both in the main conference program and in several side events.

Image: Prince Mahidol Conference 2018.

The conference will as always take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from the 29th of January to the 3rd of February and ReAct will have several people attending the conference to present and engage in the discussions. The ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) has also decided to hold its 5th meeting of independent experts and members in Bangkok at the same time as the conference.

Strong low and middle income countries leadership

The Prince Mahidol Award Conference is known for its wide and active representation of low- and middle income countries and conference participants normally include ministers, senior government officials, intergovernmental organizations, international development partners, global health initiatives, health policy and health systems researchers and advocates, civil society organizations and high-level stakeholders.

ReAct contributions at PMAC:
Presentations from Professor Otto Cars and Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Head of ReAct Africa

Otto Cars, founder of ReAct.

Given the strong emphasis on antibiotic resistance for the conference, several people from ReAct are invited to add to the discussions on sustainable solutions to contain antibiotic resistance. As part of the general PMAC program Professor Otto Cars, founder and Senior Advisor at React, also a member of the IACG, will present in the panel on “AMR: Addressing Excessive and Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics”.

Professor Otto Cars says:

“I am very honored to be invited as a speaker at PMAC. It is an important conference, especially considering the high representation from low and middle income countries.”

Twenty years ago Professor Otto Cars was instrumental in creating STRAMA, the Swedish Strategic Program against antibiotic resistance, and he will speak about the lessons learned for the program over the years – something that was recently documented and published in the WHO Bulletin.

Professor Otto Cars will also be speaking at Side Event 7 on the One Health approach and antimicrobial resistance under the heading: “The Need for Effective Global and Regional Support for the Development and Implementation of National Action Plans”. He will present on the importance and urgency of intentional and national financing being mobilized in support of implementation of national action plans – as well as the need to deepen our understanding of how interventions to contain antimicrobial resistance can be used as leverage for overall health system strengthening and vice versa.

Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Head of ReAct Africa, will speak at Side Event 22 on “Monitoring and Improving Medicines Quality through AMR National Action Plans”. According to a 2017 study by WHO, one in 10 medical products in developing countries does not meet acceptable quality standards. The widespread availability and indiscriminate use of poor quality antibiotics has serious consequences for public health, such as treatment failures, risk of resistance development, toxicity or other side effects.

Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Head of ReAct Africa.

The goal of this side event meeting will be to review the status of medicines quality assurance in the context of National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance and share best practices.

Dr. Mirfin Mpundu says:

“One important variable for successful implementation of National Action Plans on AMR in Africa will depend on access to quality-assured medicines, especially antibiotics and its rational use, which is a major problem. In our work as React Africa, we share best practices on antibiotic use as part of the successful implementation of National Action Plans in the region. I am looking forward to sharing these updates at the PMAC conference and learning from others.”