News and Opinions  –  2018

ReAct Asia Pacific: 3 highlights in 2018

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2018 ends on a high note for ReAct Asia Pacific thanks to exciting new initiatives on antimicrobial resistance in the southern Indian state of Kerala together with a steady expansion of the campaign to curb antibiotics in food-animal production in south and south-east Asia.

State action plan on AMR in Kerala, India

At the launch of the Kerala State Action Plan on AMR. Photo: ReAct Asia Pacific.

On 25th October this year Kerala became the first state of India to launch an Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan, which is also the first sub-national plan on AMR in Asia. The plan was launched by the Chief Minister of Kerala at a glittering ceremony in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Dr Sujith Chandy, Head, ReAct Asia Pacific spoke on “Awareness and Behavior Change” at the program, while Dr Philip Mathew, Public Health Consultant, ReAct Asia Pacific led a group discussion on operationalizing the sections of the action plan related to awareness.

Antimicrobial resistance clubs for students

ReAct Asia Pacific arranged a photography competition for the students.The first prize in the photography contest was won by Rohan Basak, India. This is a cropped version.

2018 also saw several new colleges in Kerala launching Antibiotic Stewardship and Prevention of Infection in Communities or ASPIC clubs, which are meant to mobilize students to take up the challenge of tackling antimicrobial resistance and the factors that drive it.

A special highlight of ASPIC clubs this year was their rapid response to the prolonged spell of heavy rain that hit Kerala in August 2018 which caused considerable damage and displacement of people due to devastating floods. Apart from organizing various relief efforts ASPIC clubs focused on preventing infections/outbreaks in the aftermath of the floods, including through publication of popular information material on best practices to prevent communicable diseases.

Campaign to curb antibiotics in food-animal production in Asia Pacific

Cover of of one of the booklet in series on antimicrobial resistance in food animal production in South East Asia.

During the year ReAct Asia Pacific’s campaign to curb antibiotics in food-animal production in the Asia-Pacific region also gained pace with the release of a series of situation analysis reports on India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia together with a regional overview. The well-illustrated reports, available in several formats are also being translated into Thai and Bahasa Malay languages for wider dissemination among policy makers as well as civil society organizations working on this theme.

Mid December, over 40 delegates from different organisations around the world gathered in Bangkok to participate in a workshop to discuss new strategies and ideas to change national policies and alert consumers to the dangers of antibiotic use in livestock farming and aquaculture. The workshop, attended by animal health experts, farmers, consumer rights campaigners and academics was organized by the ReAct North America together with ReAct Asia Pacific.