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Celebrating the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW 2022) in Rwanda

Antimicrobials have dramatically reduced morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases like pneumonia, influenza, and tuberculosis [1]. The development of resistance to antimicrobials is a natural phenomenon [2], but the excessive use of antimicrobials, mainly in livestock and human medicine, accelerates this resistance [3, 4]. Alexander Fleming was among the first to warn about the potential resistance to penicillin if used in too few doses or for a short period during treatment [1]. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial agents. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobials become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Globally, AMR poses a major threat to modern
medicine [5] and is regarded as an overlooked pandemic [6]. A recent study estimated that in 2019, 4.95 million people died from AMR infections, while 1,27 million deaths were directly attributed to bacterial AMR, which was higher than the deaths attributable to HIV and Malaria [7]. Apart from deaths, AMR is associated with long hospitalizations and the use of second/thirdline antimicrobials, which are expensive for poor
individuals [6, 8]. The problem of AMR threatens several processes requiring antimicrobials like surgery, organ transplantation, and people undergoing cancer treatment. In low-and middleincome countries (LMICs), data on AMR are scarce [6], but the limited available literature proved the increasing number of AMR pathogens
[8, 9]. The AMR quadripartite organizations – 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  Environment Programme (UNEP) organize a World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), celebrated between 18-24 November every year. WAAW aims at promoting awareness
and understanding of AMR and inform of best practices to reduce its emergence and spread [10, 11]. The theme for the year 2022 was ‘‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’’ [12, 13]. It is against this background that the FAO_RWANDA, Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the University of Rwanda, the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB), Vet Connect Rwanda, OAZIS Health, Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association (RPSA), and the Nurse and Midwives Students Association in Rwanda (NMSAR)organized several activities to celebrate the WAAW 2022 in Rwanda. The main objective
of these activities was to “raise awareness and communicate the importance of the One Health
approach in addressing the threat of AMR. The details of carried out activities are given below.
Radio talks and TV shows To promote awareness of AMR, several radios (Rwanda Broadcasting Agency radios including Radio Rwanda, Radio Huye, Radio Rusizi, Radio Rubavu, and Radio Nyagatare); Radio Isango, and three TV stations (Rwanda TV, Isango TV, and BTN TV) were used to deliver the message on
antimicrobial resistance (Figure 1). 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. During the talks/shows, the community was allowed to call and interact with the panelists from diverse backgrounds representing the One Health.

Category: Outbreak report

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