ReAct 15 years!

Prateek Sharma: I want to promote health equity in my work on antimicrobial resistance

In ReAct's series of celebrating ReAct 15 years we decided to talk to our staff across the globe. Prateek Sharma is Research Associate at ReAct Strategic Policy Program hosted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, USA.​ He says it was the capacity-building workshop for Innovate4AMR finalists that changed his career trajectory.

What made you join ReAct?

Prateek Sharma, Research Associate, ReAct North America (also called ReAct Strategic Policy Program).

– Early on as an undergraduate student, I realized that I wanted to work on antimicrobial resistance. My initial exposure to the field largely focused on antimicrobial consumption surveillance and epidemiology, driven by my view that when there is data we can not continue to ignore antimicrobial resistance.

– It was through the ReAct-organized Innovate4AMR 2018 student design competition that I realized the importance of global AMR policy work and advocacy strategies.

– Even though I had spent a summer as an intern with the World Health Organization, gaining some exposure to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at a global level, it was the capacity-building workshop for Innovate4AMR finalists that changed my career trajectory.

– Hearing Dr. Anthony So (Director of the ReAct Strategic Policy Program) present to the students about the barriers to global antibiotic access and reasoned critiques of the reimbursement reforms for new antibiotics was eye-opening.

– While we all know that lack of access to essential medicines, including antibiotics, is a reality for far too many people around the world – that workshop made me feel that I should personally do more to promote health equity as I find ways to prevent future pandemic of antimicrobial resistance.

– I was quite fortunate that when I finished my Master of Science degree a few months later, ReAct had an open position and that is how I joined the ReAct team back in May 2019!

What part of your work engages you the most?

– The ReAct-Strategic Policy Program serves as the Secretariat for the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition. As a result, I get to help coordinate the Coalition’s activities.

– It truly is amazing to get to work with and hear from civil society advocates from around the world. Whether it is on our teleconference calls or preparing joint Coalition statements (e.g. Coalition’s comments on the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform), I appreciate that it is individuals making the time to share their ideas and insights with the rest of the Coalition.

– Furthermore, organizing advocacy campaigns for the Coalition not only allows me to disseminate policy analysis but also leverage social media and graphic design – which can be fun (e.g. Policy Brief for the World Health Organization’s Executive Board meeting – Jan 2021).

What makes your work at ReAct interesting, with your particular background/experience?

– As you may recall, I have long held a view that the AMR advocacy movement needs representative and transparent data to make it easier for AMR advocates to make credible calls to action. As a result, when our team noticed that the United Nations system was open to a Sustainable Development indicator on AMR, we all recognized what an important opportunity this could be!

– I believe what helped us get SDG indicator 3.d.2 on antimicrobial resistance was the rallying from the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition and its allies during the public consultation (the AMR indicator received the most votes in the public consultation by a large margin). This public input was further supported by an opinion editorial (Tracking Antimicrobial Resistance in the Sustainable Development Goals) by our team, the ReAct Strategic Policy Program. In March 2022, we’ll be coming to the one year anniversary of this new SDG indicator, so we’re going to see whether the world was able to improve reporting on AMR infections during the pandemic.

– I definitely like working with data, so I am looking forward to putting my view to the test once the data are published.

– One question I can not wait to solve is “How best can we leverage this data to help the AMR advocacy movement especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?”

Before joining ReAct, Prateek was a graduate student at the “Do Bugs Need Drugs?” program at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Additionally, gained training in global health through an internship with the World Health Organization Head Quarter. He received a Masters of Science degree in Population and Public Health from the University of British Columbia.

This year ReAct is celebrating 15 years of action on antibiotic resistance and this article is part of this celebration!

The story of ReAct started 15 years ago with a small group of people, many who are still with the network today. They all shared a passion for global health, and felt the urgency to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The network has since grown, with the presence of offices in 5 continents and many passionate members working together.
Read more about ReAct 15 years celebrations and learn more about the story of ReAct!

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