The third, and without a doubt, the most important activity of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week in Kenya, was the National Antimicrobial Resistance Symposium. The symposium was held on 14th and 15th of November 2018 at the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The two-day event was themed “Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance Together.”
In attendance were multi-stakeholder participants from health, environmental and, agriculture (aquatic, veterinary, poultry, livestock farming) sectors, including civil society organizations. These sectors were impressively representation by an array of government, research and training institutions including ReAct Africa. To name a few:
- the Ministry of Health (MOH)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
- Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS)
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Centre for Diseases Control (CDC)
- International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
- Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
- Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB)
- Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB)
- Pharmacy and Poisons Board (KPPB)
- Pest Control Products Board (PCPB)
- Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA)
- Kenya veterinary paraprofessional association (KVPA)
- Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) and
- ReAct Africa.
Highlights from the symposium
The highlight of the event was the launch of two vital antimicrobial resistance documents: The National Communication Strategy on Prevention and Containment of AMR and Guidelines for Prudent use of Antibiotics.
The symposium provided a platform for expert presentations and plenary discussions. Diversity of the discussions focused on key areas of antibiotics use in poultry, food production, security and nutritional approach, consumer perceptions on antimicrobial resistance, food-borne illnesses, fisheries and livestock farming. Expert presentations highlighted the urgent need to build awareness among the members of the public. The growth of these sectors and the use of antibiotics in food production opens room for misuse of these important commodities.
“With more fish farms being developed, antibiotic resistance is a major issue,”
said Professor Mbuthia Gichohi, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Nairobi.
“There is a need for optimal management, biosafety and biosecurity,”
It was also noted that poor quality of services in health facilities result in health-care associated infections. Strong health system look beyond a single disease and strengthening these systems was key not just in controlling the spread of antimicrobial resistance but also improving efforts towards the attainment Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The role of leadership
The significance of the role of leadership and governance was recognized. Of note is that there is a need for improvement on enforcement on available regulations and policies with regard to antimicrobial stewardship. Civil society organizations were encouraged to continue to play the role of advocate and accountability faction of antimicrobial resistance in Kenya.
“Engagement of key stakeholders is getting support. Civil society organizations are catalysts of change, fostering the one-health approach,”
said Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, Head of ReAct Africa/EPN.
The significance of this AMR symposium went beyond the creation of an opportunity for sharing knowledge on antimicrobial resistance but it recognized that local, regional and global efforts on antimicrobial resistance require the cooperation and commitment of multiple stakeholder.
Other World Antibiotic Awareness Week activities in Kenya were a WAAW Awareness Walk and a Media Breakfast.