Antibiotic Guardian: What you missed
This time last week, I was getting ready for the Antibiotic Guardian conference and awards ceremony, the event of the year in every budding professional’s calendar who is working within the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) space. It’s a chance to listen, network and share best practice with leaders in the field. Just as AMR has no borders, the conference welcomed speakers from all over the world and saw entries ranging from New Zealand to Mumbai.
This year’s theme was "shared learnings" and there was a true spirit of collaboration as we learned of the great initiatives taking place to tackle AMR. The awards have been running for three years now and recognise exceptional work in public engagement, diagnostic stewardship, innovation and technology, and research - just to name a few categories.
Seriously, finish what you started…
A stand-out presentation for me, owing partially to my own personal connection to Leeds (I attended university there and am still having withdrawal symptoms!) was the #seriouslyresistant campaign by NHS Leeds and Leeds City Council. The latest arm of the campaign looks to switch regular prescription bags to striking red ones to highlight the dangers of AMR.
As we look to the year ahead…
I managed to steal 5 minutes with Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, Lead Pharmacist, AMR Programme, Public Health England who put together the event and has led the campaign from strength to strength. It was clear from the day that we as a collective had made huge strides in meeting our national targets set out in the UK 5-year strategy, but I wanted to know what Diane would like to see over the next year, what is the key priority she deemed as crucial in differentiating the next year from the last?
The answer was simply greater inclusion. She went on to add that she would love to see the great stewardship work presented at the awards having greater reach, extending to even more communities and initiatives that see education on preserving our antibiotics everywhere including in religious places of worship - which we are beginning to see. Our greatest challenge here is that we don’t yet have the data to align with messaging for diversity and inclusion, nor to measure how well AMR activities address current inequalities. However, this could soon change with the arrival of Health Equities Assessment Tool (HEAT) which will be pivotal in increasing AMR knowledge globally.
As we all sat and listened to the words of Professor Dame Sally Davies, the tag line “if we do not act by 2050, AMR will cause more deaths than cancer” still instigated the same level of awe and urgency amongst us all. Yet, there was a clear sense of reflection and appreciation of some of the significant milestones achieved this year such as the debut of dancing pills, reduction in antibiotic use in the visionary sector, two years ahead of target and marked reductions in primary care prescribing. The figures speak for themselves and are testament to AMR increasingly penetrating mainstream media and becoming more talked about.
We have not desensitised to the problem, we have rationalised and acted.
There are now 61,000 pledges to become an Antibiotic Guardian. What are you waiting for? Make your pledge today.
Join the conversation by using the hashtag #AntibioticGuardian. AG is a year-long campaign and calls on everyone from all sectors including the public, animal and human communities.