News and Opinions  –  2018

ReAct North America: 3 highlights in 2018

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In 2018, ReAct North America lifted the voice of civil society on the global scene by mobilizing the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition and its civil society partners, trained a next generation of future leaders and champions of AMR by running the inaugural Innovate4AMR competition, and brought attention to the issue of antibiotic use in animal-food production during its Globalizing Food Campaigns conference.

Led joint civil society statements and policy dialogues

Participants at the CSO-conference led by ReAct North America in Geneva in May. Photo: ReAct Strategic Policy Program based in North America.

In 2018 ReAct North America led the writing of multiple joint civil society statements, several policy dialogues and an international meeting, all of which contributed to lifting the voice of civil society and of low- and middle-income countries on the global policy scene.

In May, ReAct organized a civil society conference in Geneva, bringing together over 30 civil society groups from Antibiotic Resistance Coalition and beyond to develop next steps as a coordinated global civil society effort. This convening was also the opportunity to host a consultation with Subgroup 4 of the IACG, whose work focused on research and development, innovation and access, and to hold the fourth annual WHO-NGO dialogue to discuss the Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to contain antimicrobial resistance. Following the meeting, Antibiotic Resistance Coalition and civil society partners worked to develop a policy guidance document capturing key points, principles and best practices for the UN Interagency Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG).

In July and August, the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition developed joint responses to the public consultation on the UN IACG’s six discussion papers. ReAct also led a tele-consultation with the WHO, FAO and OIE on the Global Development and Stewardship Framework. Following the consultation, Antibiotic Resistance Coalition submitted a report to the Tripartite capturing the points made during the discussion. Drawing from these multiple joint statements, ReAct North America compiled a briefing compiling key Antibiotic Resistance Coalition positions in advance of the Call to Action conference. In response to his successful mobilization of civil society, Dr. Anthony So, Director, ReAct Strategic Policy Program, was named co-convener of the UN IACG to ensure the civil society voice was prominent in this policy process.

Innovate4AMR – next generation leaders in AMR

The winning teams in Innovate4AMR at the workshop at WHO in Geneva. Photo: ReAct North America.

ReAct North America also mobilized the next generation of future leaders in the antimicrobial resistance space by running the inaugural Innovate4AMR competition for students.The goal of Innovate4AMR was to engage the next generation of leaders in developing innovative, scalable approaches to address the challenge of conserving existing antibiotics, as student teams working across disciplines have much to contribute in proposing how to redesign the healthcare system.

11 winning teams were selected from Peru, India, Uganda, Honduras, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada, the Philippines, the USA and China. Students from these teams had the opportunity to present their proposals at a capacity-building workshop, supported by the WHO and South Centre, in Geneva during World Antibiotic Awareness Week. The motivation and enthusiasm displayed by students throughout the workshop was inspiring.

Attention to antibiotic use in food production

Finally, in 2018 the ReAct North America brought increased attention to the issue of antibiotic use in animal-food production. Working with the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition, ReAct delivered a Thunderclap message via Twitter to over half a million people advocating for more responsible use of antibiotics in food production. Timed with the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok where these issues were being discussed, this collective effort brought in supporters from all corners of the world. Coinciding with this effort, Anthony So of ReAct wrote an opinion editorial for the Bangkok Post underlining the need to stop the use of antibiotics in livestock for growth promotion and to curb routine preventative use when no disease is diagnosed.

Further on, ReAct North America together with ReAct Asia Pacific organized a global conference in Bangkok, Thailand on “Globalizing Food Campaigns: Sharing Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance”. This conference brought together nearly 40 representatives from around the world and provided an opportunity for groups advocating to address antibiotic use in animal-food production to share best-practices and discuss how such efforts might be expanded to other regions, particularly in Asia Pacific. Through expert panels, small-group discussions and field visits, participants explored how they might together develop cross-national goals and campaigns to address the issue.

Read opinion editorial in Bangkok Post: Menace of drug resistance growing.