News and Opinions  –  2022

Join ReAct Latin America Meeting: Empowered Communities!

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The Latin American & Caribbean Meeting of Empowered Communities arranged the first set of the meeting-days on One Health Day, November 3. The second set is coming now - 17-18 November. The meeting approaches antibiotic resistance as a planetary health problem that affects human beings, animals and the environment.This is a collaboration between ReAct Latin America, PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), the Global Health Consortium of Florida International University and South Centre. You can learn more about the event, find agenda and link to register in this article.

ReAct Latin America, PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), South Centre and the Global Health Consortium of Florida International University have prepared a telematic dialogue between civil society and the commissions responsible for National Action Plans to address Antimicrobial Resistance in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Arturo Quizphe, Director, ReAct Latin America.

Arturo Quizphe, Director, ReAct Latin America.

“This dialogue will allow us to build sustainable and consensual solutions between governments and social organizations. It will also help to open up spaces for social participation in the development of national action plans”.

According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on AMR,

“civil society has a particularly important role to play in the development of national action plans by ensuring transparent governance and monitoring, conducting advocacy, awareness-raising and communication activities, and enabling citizens to become agents of change.”

17-18 November

17 November

There will be three panels discussing community strategies to address antimicrobial resistance:

  • the first one with children from Ecuador
  • the second one with youngsters from Guatemala, Colombia and Argentina
  • and the third one with educators from Cuba, Argentina and Brazil.

Every panelist will bring her/his reflections and actions into the meeting. This from the indigenous peoples, arts, education, food production, sports and an action-research project.

18 November

This day participants will have the opportunity to join a game on the myths on antimicrobial resistance with an expert of PAHO Colombia.

After this, there will be a panel with community health promoters from Belize, Brazil and Argentina on their perspectives and actions to curb antimicrobial resistance in their communities.

The second panel will be with food producers from Ecuador and Argentina and on the contribution of the campesino and ecological agricultures to address antimicrobial resistance, as well as a FAO initiative to reduce the use of antimicrobials on the food system.

And finally, the last panel of the day will be on inspiring actions to raise the social awareness on antimicrobial resistance in Argentina and Colombia.

There will also be music and stories about infectious diseases, the use of antibiotics and the microbial world.

It will be very interesting to contrast perspectives to find all that we can learn collectively to address the antimicrobial.

3 November – first day of Empowered Communities

The dialogue focused on the call to the governments of the region to contain antibiotic resistance in food animal production. This call contains 12 proposals related to:

  • restricting the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry,
  • monitoring antibiotic resistance in the agricultural sector,
  • respecting animal welfare standards,
  • labeling food produced through the routine use of antibiotics and
  • promoting the production of healthy food, among other issues.

From civil society, participants were Ricardo Mora, from World Animal Protection (Colombia); Gloria Cruz Contreras, from the Medicines Board of the National Health Forum of El Salvador; and Leda Giannuzzi, from the CALISAS Network (Argentina).

Based on the One Health approach, each of them supported proposals related to their field of action:

  • animal welfare and health to reduce infectious diseases and the use of antibiotics,
  • the human right to effective antibiotics and their appropriate use,
  • and the imperative of moving towards healthy food production models for human beings and the planet.

From the commissions responsible for the National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance, there was a report on the progress achieved in each of their countries, as well as their reactions to the proposals made by civil society.

The use of antibiotics in food animal production is a major driver of antibiotic resistance. In many cases, routine use of antibiotics is unnecessary and can be reduced by improving animal husbandry practices such as biosecurity.

The challenge is perhaps even greater in the Americas, since the use of antibiotics as growth promoters is widespread: 17 out of 30 American countries allow it, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).

Musical: Dancing with Bacterias

Art was also present on the first day of the Encounter of Empowered Communities to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance with “Dancing with Bacteria”, a musical piece produced by the Ensamble del Viento of the School of Music of the University of the Americas and ReAct Latin America, with the aim of raising awareness about the metaphor of war in which we are immersed and promoting the transition to an ecological metaphor of bacteria, health and infectious diseases, through cooperation between art, science and activism.

Empowered Communities Initiative to tackle AMR – acknowledged as a good practice by the United Nations

  • The Initiative, stemmed in 2021 with the first Latin American and Caribbean Meeting of Empowered Communities to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance, is a platform for dialoguing and sharing the knowledge to address antimicrobial resistance from the One Health approach between the communities of the region.
  • The Meeting was cross-sectoral and collective, given the great diversity of participating communities: scientists, children, artists, medical doctors, indigenous leaders, environmentalists, teachers, communicators, international organizations’ representatives, governmental officials, human rights activists, among others, from 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Additionally, it was cross-regional, due the participation of representatives from Africa, Asia and Europe.
  • The recognition was given from the United Nations Office for South-to-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and an article on the Initiative was published in “Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development, Volume 4”. UNOSSC highlights the contribution of the Initiative to achieve seven sustainable development goals, good health for all, among them, throughout a strategy to tackle AMR and the key role of the communities.
  • The Meeting was backed by PAHO Special Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, Global Health Consortium of the Florida International University and ReAct Latin America. The South Centre, the organization constituted by South countries, was adhered to the supporter group the current year.

Interesting reads

ReAct Article: Mobilizing communities to act on antibiotic resistance

2021: 5 lessons learned from Latin American Summit: Community empowerment – vital for tackling AMR

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