On 29 November – 1 December, the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA74) gathers for a special session to consider developing a new WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response. Given many similarities in actions required a “pandemic treaty” may be a clear opportunity to ensure that antibiotic resistance – the silent ongoing pandemic – is also addressed.
Blog post - WAAW Special
Marking the beginning of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Anna Zorzet and Scott Howard make the case that often the most important treatment for people with cancer are the drugs that cure their infections.
The ReAct North America is mentoring student champions through Innovate4Health. Innovate4Health is a global student design sprint running from October 2021 to January 2022.
To tackle antimicrobial resistance, there is a need not only for bottom-up innovation but also for creatives ideas to the social and medical challenges of antimicrobial resistance and other emerging infections. Innovate4Health endeavors to enable students to not only take up these issues, but also play an active role in tackling them. Now we can present this year’s 15 teams and their projects.
WAAW Special - Press
Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Health, Republic of Zambia and ReAct Africa.
Lusaka, Zambia & Uppsala, Sweden, 18 November 2021 – The Zambia Antimicrobial Resistance Coordinating Committee (AMRCC) through the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) and ReAct Africa today announce the extension of their Memorandum of Understanding on supporting the implementation of Zambia’s Multi-sectoral National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. The renewed MoU extends support to the AMRCC and the Zambia strategic response program against antimicrobial resistance (ZSRA-AMR).
Several buildings in Hyderabad, capital of Telangana state in India, will be lit blue on 24 November as part of the World Health Organization’s ‘Go Blue’ campaign to raise awareness on antimicrobial resistance. ReAct Asia Pacific was one of the co-organizers among many other activities in the region set up by ReAct Asia Pacific.
ReAct Europe and Uppsala University in Sweden are joining the World Health Organization’s WHO’s campaign Go-Blue, which sheds light on the silent pandemic that antibiotic resistance constitutes in the world. For two evenings, the University House and the ReAct Europe office is illuminated in blue, to urge the outside world to spread awareness about this threat to the world’s healthcare.
The Latin American Meeting “Empowered Communities facing antimicrobial resistance in the context of COVID-19”, organized by ReAct Latin America, the Pan American Health Organization and Florida International University, was held from 10 to 12 November. This Meeting analyzed the role of the community and its diverse forms of organization and wisdom in facing the pandemic. And how those actions can be taken as examples for addressing antimicrobial resistance, in particular antibiotics. Here are a few lessons learned from the meeting days, we also look into future approaches that might be of interest.
Same as last years, ReAct will arrange and participate in a various set of activities during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021. ReAct will engage with students, engage for children, hold or participate in webinars focusing on antibiotic resistance and for example community engagement, cancer, and National Action Plans. ReAct also engages in the WHO GO BLUE FOR AMR campaign!
WILL YOU GO BLUE FOR AMR?
The rapid spread of antibiotic resistance around the world has evoked calls at the highest levels of the United Nations and its member governments to urgently adopt measures to tackle the growing problem. While these and other global and national policy initiatives are highly welcome and much needed, the world cannot afford to solely wait for them to be translated into action and change on the ground.
The top-down approach needs to be complemented with action and mobilization on grass-root level since the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance is tightly linked to the practices and behaviors of individuals.
10-12 November The Latin American Summit “Empowered Communities against Antimicrobial Resistance in the context of COVID-19”, will be organized by ReAct Latin America together with the Pan American Health Organization and the Florida International University Health Consortium. 3 November a pre-summit day is arranged. During the 4-day summit the main theme is the role of the community when implementing and sustaining National Action Plans on AMR.
Effective antibiotics are a cornerstone of basic and specialized medicine. The emergence of resistance in bacteria to antibiotics is slowly dismantling our ability to treat infections, alleviate human suffering, and save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is a clear reminder of the deadly consequences the world faces, when we do not have the right treatments or vaccines available when needed.
A survey on the currently developed National Action Plans on AMR highlighted suboptimal financing plans and lack of resources. Therefore WHO launched a new tool to help guide the development and implementation of national action plans. This article looks at three areas of added value of this new tool. The new WHO tool can also be accessed through the ReAct toolbox – a repository intended to support governments to develop and implement National Action Plans on AMR.
Dr Vijay V. Yeldandi is a specialist in infectious diseases with over 25 years of experience in transplant infectious diseases, public health, infection prevention and patient safety. He is also a faculty at Public Health Foundation of India and Director of SHARE INDIA, a non-profit organization working on health in India. Here he talks to ReAct about his views on antibiotic use and behavior.
September 2016, prompted by calls from academia, civil society organizations and the WHO, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – which agreed on a political declaration on AMR.
Professor Otto Cars, former member of the UN Interagency Coordination Group on AMR, gives his view on the status quo five years after the adoption of the political declaration. ReAct staff from across the ReAct network also give their perspectives on the impact of the political declaration in the African region, in Latin America and in India.
Víctor Orellana is a general practitioner in a small village in the mountains of Argentina. Working with health promotion and prevention, he says: “our aim is to promote healthy lifestyles and to avoid irrational use of antibiotics”. He thinks the government must not forget the ideological component in health care – that is to understand health as a right – and not see health care as a commodity.
Learn more about Víctor’s work as a health-care worker addressing antibiotic resistance – in a place where mules are the main means of transportation.
To initiate implementation of National Action Plans on AMR – through intervention research projects or other activities – is very challenging in low- and middle-income countries. This has become very clear in the dialogue that both ReAct and ICARS have had with countries in the African region. Now the two organizations are joining hands in a project focusing on this – the challenges to implement National Action Plans in low resources settings. Learn more about the collaboration and its 7 objectives to move from words into action.
In March 2021, over 600 participants from 72 countries convened to discuss antimicrobial resistance and behavioral change at Uppsala Health Summit.
Insights and recommendations from the workshops have been compiled into 8 short briefs. The 8 briefs, compiled into a full report, will be launched in a webinar on 8 September.
ReAct was part of the Programme Committee, presented, took part in several of the workshop discussions and co-organized a workshop on communication. Click to access briefs and registration for webinar.
This year, the UN High-Level Political Forum convened virtually, and ReAct and South Centre co-organized a side-event panel discussion on “Ensuring a Sustainable and Resilient Response to COVID-19 and Emerging Infectious Diseases through Local Production”. In the article you find a few key points from the webinar and a recording of the webinar.
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.