World AMR Awareness Week
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is among the top ten threats facing humanity and human activities are the major drivers of this process. The quadripartite – the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), and the United Nations for Environment Programme (UNEP) organize a World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), celebrated between 18-24 November every year. For the year 2022, the theme was “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together’’. In Rwanda, several activities including (i) Radio talks/ TV shows, (ii) a public lecture at the University of Rwanda, (iii) a scientific workshop and training veterinary paraprofessionals and healthcare providers in Nyanza district, (iv) Car free day in Huye district, and (v) Social media engagement using twibbons were conducted. During the WAAW, messages related to AMR were delivered to a diverse audience. The covered topics include but are not limited to: (i) drivers of AMR, (ii) the consequences associated with AMR, (iii) Adoption of One Health approach to tackling the AMR threat. Promoting awareness of AMR alone is not enough. Other interventions like increasing diagnostic centers, surveillance of AMR among commonly reported pathogens, enforcing laws to ensure the quality of existing antimicrobials, and empowering research are all needed if we want a bright future for the generations to come.
RADIO TALKS AND TV SHOWS
To promote awareness of AMR, several radios (Rwanda Broadcasting Agency radios including Radio Rwanda, Huye, Rusizi, Rubavu, and Nyagatare; Radio Isango, and three TV stations (Rwanda TV, Isango TV, and BTN TV) were used to deliver the message on antimicrobial resistance. The message covered several components like (i) when do we say an antimicrobial was misused? (ii) How do microorganisms develop resistance to used antimicrobials? (iii) consequences of misusing antimicrobials, (iv) the role of everyone and multisectoral collaboration in fighting against AMR, and (v) the aim of the campaign. Panelists were composed of people from different domains of the One Health. During the talks/ shows, the audience was allowed to call and interact with panelists. During the talks/shows, the community was allowed to call and interact with a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds representing One health.
A PUBLIC LECTURER ON ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE AT UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA
On 23rd November, a public lecture took place at the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology. The covered topics were: (i) an introduction to the AMR by Emile NGABO, (ii) Antimicrobial use and resistance in animals, case of Rwanda, and (iii) Weapons against AMR and future perspectives in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The audience included students and staff from UR_CST. An interactive session held after the three presenters showed the willingness to learn more about AMR.
A SCIENTIFIC WORKSHOP AND TRAINING VETERINARY PARAPROFESSIONALS ON AMR
This scientific workshop and training took place in Nyanza district, Rwanda from 23-24th November 2022. During this workshop, 25 veterinary paraprofessionals and health professionals were trained on AMR. The covered topics include: (i) One Health Multi-Sectoral Coordination Mechanism (OH-MCM) to address AMR, (ii) Rwanda Agriculture, Animal resources Development Board (RAB) interventions about AMR, (iii) Understanding AMR & its drivers, and possible solutions, (iv) AMR National action plan and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) intervention, (v) Prudent use of Antibiotics in livestock, (vi) Role of the pharmacists to address AMR, and (vii) One Health and AMR.
Social media engagement using twibbons
This year, we carried out an open online campaign where government officials from different organizations and the general community were allowed to share a message on preserving antimicrobials. In total, 123 people joined the campaign and posters with messages and pictures were shared.
Car free day in Huye
The organizing team joined the Huye car free with T-shirts showing this year WAAW’s theme “Preventing AMR together”. After jogging, RBC representatives addressed the community where more than 500 people attended the event.
REFLECTION OF THE PARTICIPANTS
- More stakeholders need to be engaged in line with multispectral collaboration approach
- AMR awareness campaign should not happen in world antimicrobial awareness week only
- Government and local leaders need to be involved in this matter to expand the accountability and ownership
- There is a need to train master trainers on AMR
- Local administrative personnel need to be trained too as they are implementers of government policies.
- More in service public and private veterinarians and paraprofessionals need to be trained on prudent use of antimicrobials.
- AMR Rwanda strategic plan and one health policy need to be more functional
In a nutshell, this campaign empowered the Rwandan community with crucial basic information they needed to preserve antimicrobials and prevent AMR. It is estimated that the campaign reached more than 8 000 people with this message through radio talks and TV shows, public lecture at UR_CST, training on AMR in Nyanza district, online campaign, and the car free day. This campaign has shown potential in behavior change, thus the same campaigns are encouraged in similar settings.