The 2nd AMR Awareness Media Training Held in Nairobi, Kenya
On May 5th 2017, EPN & ReAct in partnership with AMR Media Network, Kenya conducted a one day Media Training on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness which was hosted by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
This brought together journalists from 15 media outlets, radio, print and Television. The overall purpose of this activity was to raise awareness among journalists on the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a major public health challenge. Tapping on the role and reach of the media, the expected outcome was to interest the media, help them understand AMR in particular antibiotic resistance (ABR) and their role in promoting efforts and interventions to slow rate ABR/AMR.
The training was officially opened by Dr. Kombe (ag. Director KEMRI) whose passionate speech expressed the available evidence of AMR, its effect on both human and animal health and the cost of not doing anything. He told the journalists about the projections that annual deaths globally would increase to about 10 million by 2050 if nothing is done AMR, he continued, is a real problem affecting Kenyans today.
“There are many factors that have and are contributing to the rise of AMR, from indiscriminate use of antimicrobials in both the human and animal sector (quite common in Kenya), lack of access to quality assured antimicrobials, use of antibiotics as growth promoters in the animal sector to exposure through the environment to mention but a few. One major contributor is the lack of awareness of this problem in the communities about the problem and its impact on treatment of infectious diseases. This is where you as the media can help with your skills. You can help by raising awareness of the problem of AMR, sharing solutions and practices that can slow it down and working with academic institutions, CSOs and NGOs and the government in sharing best practices, encouraging discussions, sharing research findings and being watchdogs to ensure we are all playing our part in country and global efforts.” urged Dr. Mirfin Mpundu (EPN Executive Director & Head of ReAct Africa), in his address to the group and setting the tone.
The workshop was expertly facilitated by leading advocates of rational AMU in Kenya. Dr. Moses Gichia (Former Coodinator: FAO/WHO Africa Region Codex Committee ) elaborated on the dangers of irrational AMU in Food and Agriculture and the cyclical nature of this misuse as it affects human beings who consume them. Alarmingly, Dr. Gichia pointed out that currently, 70% of AMU is in the animal sector. From this high percentage, under a third are administered in the treatment of diseases, while over two-thirds are administered for the purpose of disease prevention (prophylaxis) and to increase animal production.
The role of the media in Health Reporting, facilitated by Davis Mkoji (Head, Corporate Affairs KEMRI & Chair, AMR Media Network) brought the workshop to its main objective of raising awareness of AMU and AMR to the public through the media. Mr. Mkoji urged that an information bridge was needed to be built between the media and scientists in order to prevent inaccurate reporting on AMR by “building journalists skills to interpret and report on AMR and, similarly, build researchers’ knowledge and skills to communicate to non-specialist audience for the greater good of the public.”
Following a round-table discussion on Proactive Media Engagement, the training ended with each participant, developing a 6-month action plan geared towards creating awareness to the public on antibiotic resistance and overall antimicrobial resistance. An award giving ceremony will be held in November 2017 to award journalists who would have excelled in implementing their action plans.