Curbing antimicrobial resistance through effective education, infection prevention, research and innovation- Students Against Superbugs-Africa - SPFH Winner 2020
STUDENTS AGAINST SUPERBUGS (SAS) AFRICA INITIATIVE: FIRST REPORT PRESENTED TO TOWARDS UNITY FOR HEALTH (TUFH).
Written by: Daniel Waruingi
For correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
The day was March 1, 2020. It was on a Sunday morning. Anxious and a bit tensed, I checked my mail to see if there was any update. I could not believe it, there it was, “Dear Daniel, congratulations…” all highlighted in red. I shouted in joy. Since that day, our project has grown by imaginable heights and our team became deeply motivated.
Figure 1: Some of our team members and invited guests (healthcare professionals) at a past event earlier this year.
Student Against Superbug (SAS) Africa is a project that aims at utilizing a One Health Approach in developing evidence-based interventions on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The project seeks to empower students to become the lead champions in promoting community education on AMR. It also focuses on instilling social responsibility virtues among health students to promote rational prescribing and use of antimicrobials in the future when they become health care professionals.
Figure 2: Students posing for a photo in March 7th, after attending an AMR sensitization session organized by Students Against Superbugs Africa.
Earlier this year, we embarked on a large-scale AMR sensitization in tertiary institutions. This happened in collaboration with respective students’ associations in the different universities and colleges. We were also able to forge a partnership with ReAct Africa, an international organization keen on curtailing AMR, who agreed to support our strategic plan for the year.
Figure 3: Students attending one of our events earlier this year.
As a result of our work, we were invited to present on ‘the role of students in curtailing AMR’ at the 33rd Federation of African Medical Students (FAMSA) General Assembly Scientific Conference held at Kenyatta University in Kenya. Our team was able to obtain meaningful networks with other African student bodies. We are working closely with them to simulate the project in other African countries.
Figure 4: One of our team members, Mr. Edmund presenting during the 33rd FAMSA Scientific and Research Conference
Unfortunately, our 2020 strategic plan was short-lived after the Kenyan government imposed movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we have redesigned our framework to focus on viable programs. Most of them are carried out virtually. In April, we conducted an internal restructure to strengthen our team. We now have an Executive council that will be responsible for the day to day running of the project.
Figure 5: One of our webinars conducted in May that aimed at educating the students on COVID-19 and Antimicrobial Resistance.
In the month of May, we organized a 2 webinars to educate the students on the correlation of Antimicrobial Resistance and C0VID-19. We empowered them to share the information with their respective communities. We have also been sharing critical information on AMR in our social media handles (Twitter and LinkedIn) to boost public sensitization. In the month of June, we have been conducting a research on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the youth in regards to AMR. This will guide us in developing more effective evidence-based solution in the future. The survey is still ongoing (can be accessed through the link https://forms.gle/4CeQuA3ZuPRuxxGR6). We hope to share the report with Towards Unity For Health (TUFH) once it is completed. In July, we will be initiating a series of webinars on AMR aimed at educating students and members of the public.
Through TUFH we have been able to obtain a very supportive mentor, Dr. Rabia Khan, who is helping us redesign our project into a fully-fledged organization We are grateful to TUFH for the provision of a mentorship platform and to Dr. Rabia too for her unconditional support. This will help us forge more partnerships with the relevant stakeholders in the future. We will also be able to design and implement more impactful and sustainable interventions. We are also grateful for the $250 financial support and will utilize some of it in the registration and legal process.
We are also in the process of finalizing the development of our website (can be accesses through https://https:/studentsagainstsuperbugs.org/). A portion of the $250 will cater for its creation. The website will provide a platform to publish informative articles and papers easily accessible to students and the general public. It will also improve our communication, and showcase our different programs. Lastly, the remainder will be used in the development of easily understandable and interesting audio-visual, and print materials that will be distributed to strengthen community education on AMR.