“Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”: OUCRU Public and Community Engagement in the combat against antimicrobial resistance

Our overuse of antibiotics in humans, animals, and plants around the world is accelerating the development and spread of drug-resistant infections. Researchers estimated that AMR in bacteria caused an estimated 1.27 million deaths in 2019(1).  

November 18 – 24 is World Antimicrobial Awareness Week with the theme “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”. The WHO, in their global action plan for AMR, has identified the need to improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education, and training. 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has often been framed as a matter of people making ill-informed choices, culminating in the over- and irrational use of antimicrobial medicines (Leung et al. 2011, Laxminarayan et al. 2013). In fact, there are many complex drivers of behavior around antimicrobial usage, and the solutions will be similarly complex and interconnected.  

To respond to this situation, in tandem with OUCRU’s scientific research in the field of AMR, we conduct a range of public and community activities and projects. The aim is to raise awareness and spread the message of the appropriate use of antimicrobial medicines by involving community members in sharing their perspectives and shaping the response. 

Youth Against AMR (YAAR!) 

The YAAR! project brings together young people from four countries in the Global South: Kenya, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. These young people are working together with the YAAR! project team to do two things:  

  • to identify and evaluate age-appropriate messages about AMR 
  • to identify effective platforms for engaging and empowering young people to act to mitigate the increasing global health risks that AMR brings. 

You can see more about the activities and the range of creative media produced by young people as part of this project here. 

The YAAR! team in collaboration Wellcome’s Education and Drug-Resistant Infections teams, have developed a learning framework. This is a resource for educators, health and research professionals to enable them to develop young peoples’ understanding of: 

  • the science behind AMR 
  • the individual, community, and global health risks AMR presents 
  • the positive actions they can take to mitigate against AMR. 

The framework identifies key learning outcomes appropriate to different age groups that are applicable across a diverse range of settings and learning environments. It can be used as a tool for structuring curricula and learning activities.  

The framework can be downloaded here (full version) and here (short version, only including learning outcomes). 

PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGE IN HOSPITALS IN HANOI 

In contexts where it is not always possible to visit a doctor for a correct diagnosis and, if appropriate a prescription for medication, then people will go to the pharmacies to buy antibiotics by themselves. This situation is not uncommon across South and South East Asia.  

To help to address the problem from the community level, OUCRU Hanoi has developed a set of multimedia materials that they have distributed within hospitals in Hanoi. The outcomes include a short explanation video for young medical students, and leaflets to distribute at the hospital. You can download the leaflet here (medical student version and patient version).

This was supported by a Seed Award grant. 

COLLAB LAB PROJECT  

Collab Lab is a youth engagement project from OUCRU Vietnam’s Youth Science Ambassadors. These young people are interested in science and communications and collaborate with research scientists at OUCRU and elsewhere in Vietnam to create science explainer videos for all.  

These short, easy-to-understand videos focus on key global health issues, including AMR. The topic of one Collab Lab video is about how the widespread use of the antibiotic named colistin in small-scale poultry farms in southern Vietnam is leading to the presence of colistin-resistance bacteria in both animals and humans. (1) 

This video will be available soon.

You can watch a whole series here.  

Singing THE SONGS OF ANTIBIOTICS and other activities in Nepal 

AMR is a growing concern in Nepal. OUCRU Nepal’s Public and Engagement team has developed a series of events to help to raise awareness in the community. Among them is a singing project with the theme ‘Singing the songs of Antibiotics’. This began with a ‘Tea Talk’ information event and will finish with a singing contest. It has attracted several community volunteers who will perform this catchy song in an engaging way.   

For World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022 OUCRU Nepal will also be staging other community events over the coming two months: a Doodle competition, several Tea-talk sessions with youth on AMR, an AMR movie screening, an AMR awareness Cycle rally, and a Flash Mob. 

OUCRU Indonesia engagement

OUCRU Indonesia will launch a podcast about AMR during AMR week 2022. More details to follow soon.

 

Reference:

(1) Trung N, Matamoros S, Carrique-Mas JJ, Nghia N, Nhung N, Chieu T, et al. Zoonotic Transmission of mcr-1 Colistin Resistance Gene from Small-Scale Poultry Farms, Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(3):529-532. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2303.161553