In this interview, Tapiwa Kujinga talks about the pros of civil society engagement, the challenges of access and excess, and how PATAM wants to further its engagement.
COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic – the next one is already here: antibiotic resistance. Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic can help mobilize urgent global action to address the silent pandemic of antibiotic resistance affecting countries throughout the world. Antibiotics are critical components of all health systems. In an article published online in The Lancet Global Health June 15, 2021, authors from the senior leadership of ReAct, argue that a health system approach nationally and globally is critical to mitigate the devastating consequences of antibiotic resistance. Click to read the full text published in Lancet Global Health.
Since early April this year India’s deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections has claimed thousands of lives and devastated families across the country. The impact of the pandemic has however been made even worse by the rampant, irrational prescription of medicines, especially steroids and antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most pressing public health problems of our time. It causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, affects many people’s livelihoods and is threatening to undo the advances of modern medicine. Without effective antibiotics, it would for example be too risky to conduct organ transplants, routine surgical procedures and cancer chemotherapy. Global development would also be severely affected.
Last week governments gathered for the WHO’s 74th World Health Assembly after a year marked by governments being occupied with responding and managing several waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we list our main takeaways from the debates relevant for antimicrobial resistance, access to medicines and vaccines, and pandemic preparedness and response. The article also include two ReAct policy briefs before WHA.
End April, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)75th session hosted a high-level interactive dialogue on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The dialogue had participation from government leaders, industry leaders, health and development experts, delegates of the Tripartite-plus (WHO, OIE, FAO & UNEP) as well as representatives from civil society organisations including ReAct Africa and South Centre. Here you can find a few key points from the meeting.
Your life can change in a split second. Vanessa Carter from South Africa is well aware of this. She was in a car accident 17 years ago.
On top of the accident she also survived 3 years of a drug-resistant infection. Despite this, she stayed strong and felt a need to create change. She became a patient advocate for antibiotic resistance and is now widely engaged, completed a Stanford Medicine X e-Patient Scholarship and holds a position in the WHO Strategic Advisory Group (STAG) for AMR. She says: “It is not just me, there are other patients as well.”
At the time of the UN High-level Interactive Dialogue on Antimicrobial Resistance taking place today, it is a cold reality that identified barriers and systems challenges common to COVID-19 and antibiotic resistance remain valid today, while coordinated action has not kept pace on a global scale. It should be a wake-up call and time is ticking for the global community to walk the talk on antibiotic resistance, of which the individual and societal consequences are more detrimental and far reaching.
Beginning March, the The Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Antimicrobial resistance (STAG-AMR) had its first meeting. The group is the principal advisory group to the World Health Organization (WHO) on antimicrobial resistance. Both Otridah Kapona, AMR Focal Point for Zambia and Projects Officer at ReAct Africa and Sujith Chandy, Director of ReAct Asia Pacific, was appointed to the group. We have asked the two new STAG-AMR members a few questions about the newly formed advisory group and their hopes for the future. Of course, ReAct also congratulates to their new appointment!
While the world is caught up in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has gone largely unnoticed that more than thirty years has passed since the last class of antibiotics was discovered. Meanwhile global consumption of antibiotics continues to increase. In response, bacteria have developed resistance and are spreading as a silent but steady pandemic threatening to devastate healthcare and modern medicine as we know it.
ReAct Europe organized an ‘Expert Conversation’ event to mark the launch of their new report “Ensuring sustainable access to effective antibiotics for everyone, everywhere – How to address the crisis in antibiotic research and development” on the 14th of April. Read more and look at conversation.
Due to COVID-19, pandemic preparedness and global health security have emerged as the dominating approach to addressing public health crises, of which antimicrobial resistance has been among the priority list. This piece highlights considerations for antimicrobial resistance to be addressed through the pandemic preparedness lens.
Dr Meenakshi Gautham is a Research Fellow in Health Systems and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently leading a study to design a One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Intervention in community settings in rural India. In the project she is working with informal health providers and para-vets, the formal public health and veterinary health systems, the pharmaceutical industry and rural communities. Her whole interest in antibiotic use started because of her interest in informal providers.
Antimicrobial resistance was back on the agenda when the 148th WHO Executive Board which took place from January 18-26. A number of ReAct’s nodes developed position documents for Member State delegates and the WHO to consider in response to the stock taking report produced by the WHO secretariat.
Viewpoint in media
Viewpoint published in Brookings Foresight Africa 2021 report written by Patricia Geli, Senior Economist and Public Health Specialist at the World Bank and Professor Otto Cars, founder of ReAct.
While wealthier countries have been able to kick the can down the road by switching to more expensive antibiotics, already-fragile health systems in Africa will be stretched beyond breaking point as the switch from first-line antibiotics adds a median overall cost of $700 per infection.
React Africa and South Centre hosted their third annual conference beginning December 2020, under the theme, “What is the status of the Antimicrobial Resistance National Action Plans in the African Region?”A full conference report will be shared within 3 weeks. At a glance though, there where 4 key takeaways from the conference. To access the report e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The World Health Organization (WHO) classify antimicrobial resistance as one of the ten most considerable global public health threats humanity is facing. Medical and scientific communities have been aware for a long time. Still, the global burden of antibiotic resistance remains unknown.
Nurse Dorce Datu, head of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Biak Hospital, Indonesia, has been working in the unit since the first day it was founded. She has seen the days when the death rate of premature babies with infection was 100%, and now she is the one who keeps the Infection Prevention Control Program at the unit running.
Her main goal is to create a supportive environment for the staff and she is not afraid of going the extra mile to help them and their small patients. She is a nurse who – together with the unit and the hospital – acts conscientiously on antibiotic resistance. We need more nursing professionals like Nurse Dorce and her team.