News and Opinions  –  2020

WAAW ReAct Africa: Engaging civil society and students

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2020-11-25

ReAct Africa joined and partnered with various civil society and intergovernmental organisations in the region to commemorate this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week through various activities held mostly online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Winners of a student’s competition that was running for Kenyan university students under the theme “Real life experiences on how COVID-19 has affected communities/individuals and impact on antimicrobial resistance. Photo: ReAct Africa.

Online event 1

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) activities in the African Africa started off a day earlier on 17th November with an online event organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) under the theme: AMR: Moving from National Action Plans to National Action.

Mirfin Mpundu, Director ReAct Africa was an invited panelist at this event where he focused on the need and importance of collaborations, co-development of antimicrobial resistance interventions at country level moving away from the north to south led interventions, addressing the systems-based approach to antimicrobial resistance as key, peeling off the drivers and being smart in prioritization as resources are few. He further highlighted the challenges for LMICs in implementing antimicrobial resistance National Action Plans from lack political will that leads to weak governance, to lack of resources, human, financial and structural. He identified opportunities with the tranches of funds going into LMICs to be used to build the architecture and structures that will allow to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic, emerging diseases and the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Online event 2

On the 19th of November, Mirfin Mpundu was a speaker at a webinar hosted by the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition titled “Responding to difficult-to-treat infections: role and responsibilities of governments, researchers, industry and patients”. It was the fourth session in a series of webinars on an “AMR in the Light of COVID-19 series”.

One Health approach to engage civil society organizations


Short video showcasing civil society engagement in the African Region.

ReAct Africa uses a One Health approach and targets civil society organizations (CSOs) as key stakeholders across the human health, agricultural, and environmental sectors. Civil society organizations play an essential role in raising antimicrobial resistance awareness, catalyzing action in communities, holding organizations and countries accountable to their commitments, and supporting government policies and programs to control antimicrobial resistance. To highlight some of these efforts during WAAW, ReAct Africa with support from Africa CDC produced a video showcasing some of the work that the civil society organizations within the ReAct Africa Network are doing at their respective levels.

2nd WAAW Africa campaign – continental solidarity

ReAct Africa also participated in the 2nd continental joint WAAW campaign for Africa from 18th – 24th November which was a virtual event organized by the Africa regional tripartite members (FAO, OIE, WHO), UNEP, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The event highlighted continental solidarity on antimicrobial resistance awareness and Mirfin Mpundu helped moderate discussions of day 6 under the title: The Role of Civil Society and Grassroots organizations in AMR Control.

Dr Mpundu was also invited to participate in the Africa WAAW twitter chat hosted by Africa CDC to address how to improve awareness for antimicrobial resistance in Africa. He tweeted:

“Knowledge and awareness are among the key levers for change. Knowledge and awareness lead to behavior change and people get informed. Antimicrobial resistance is driven by the inappropriate use of antimicrobials. It is foundational in AMR NAP implementation.”

Student engagement

Winners of a student’s competition that was running for Kenyan university students under the theme “Real life experiences on how COVID-19 has affected communities/individuals and impact on antimicrobial resistance. Photo: ReAct Africa.

In Kenya, ReAct partnered with World Animal Protection (WAP), Students Against Superbugs (SAS) Africa and the Kenya Veterinary Association among other organizations to organize a student’s event on the 21st of November. The event was a hybrid with both virtual and physical attendance held in Nairobi. The event themed United to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance was attended widely and included presentations from students on how they can engage actively in antimicrobial resistance under a one health approach, two live musical performances and ended with an awarding ceremony of the winners to a student’s competition that was running for Kenyan university students under the theme “Real life experiences on how COVID-19 has affected communities/individuals and impact on antimicrobial resistance”.

 

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