On September 21st at UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), member nations adopted a political declaration calling for improved infection control in human and animal health, innovative R&D, affordable and accessible antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, better monitoring and surveillance of AMR, and international partnerships for controlling and preventing the spread of AMR.
In support of the WHO’s 2015 Global Action Plan on AMR, specifically its first strategic objective to improve awareness and understanding of AMR, the UN declaration commits to ‘initiate, increase and sustain awareness and knowledge-raising activities on AMR in order to engage and encourage behavioral change in different audiences.’
HSP, recognizing the pivotal role public outreach and awareness campaigns play in the global fight for #CombatingAMR, engaged our 2016 Health Security Futures Fellows, a cohort of early-career scientists in Pakistan and the U.S. who identify a local health security challenge and develop an innovative solution while engaging in a yearlong virtual curriculum that is made up of monthly modules on topics surrounding global health security.
For September’s ‘Global Infectious Disease and Surveillance’ module, we asked the Futures Fellows to use social media to explain AMR to non-scientist family and friends. Ranging from hand-drawn comics to impassioned Facebook posts, the approaches were diverse but shared common themes like defining key terms for understanding AMR and simple steps for reducing the risk of infection. With ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, Fellows reached 300+ individuals!
Below are a few examples of the Futures Fellows’ social media posts for #CombatingAMR:
Kate Consavage, Georgetown University
“Misuse and overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry poses a major risk for the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria, yet it has not been as widely discussed or vocalized compared with other AMR factors. This video sheds light on the main issues with overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry and provides some suggestions for how YOU as an individual can make a change. Change starts with knowledge and awareness that there IS an issue with our current livestock sector!”
Saleha Hafeez, The Women University – Multan
“The purpose behind…these cartoons is to explain [AMR] in a simplified way to my family and non-life sciences students.”
Tahir Hussain, National University of Sciences & Technology – Islamabad
Tahir re-shared a poster that he presented at the 2014 ‘National Science Communication Challenge’ sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the National Academy of Young Scientists, which asked university students to design a communication tool that corrected a public misconception about science. Tahir writes, “Our poster was declared the best because it was very simple” and when laypeople were asked “about the theme of the poster and the message it conveyed, they readily perceived the idea.”
Hannah Cummins, Georgetown University