Experts’ quotes and recording of 3rd Global Media Forum on AMR

Antimicrobial resistance

World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) is celebrated between 18-24 November every year.

WAAW is meant to increase the visibility of AMR. All stakeholders should realize that if we do not act now, we could go back to a pre-antibiotic era, when even simple infections become untreatable.

Quotes of the following AMR experts are given below.

• Thomas Joseph, Head, AMR Awareness, Advocacy and Campaigns, World Health
Organization (WHO) Geneva.

• Beatrice Atim Odwong Anywar, Uganda’s Minister of State for Environment, and
Member of Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

• Vanessa Carter, an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) patient survivor, One Health
advocate, Chairperson of the World Health Organization (WHO) Taskforce of AMR
Survivors, and founder of The AMR Narrative.

• Emmanuel Kabali, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Project Coordination and
Technical Support expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO)

• Wondwosen Asnake Kibret, Policy and Partnerships Coordinator, UN Environment
Programme (UNEP)

• Philip Mathew Technical Officer (Antimicrobial Resistance – AMR), World Health
Organization (WHO)

• Javier Yugueros Marcos, Head of Department Antimicrobial Resistance & Veterinary
Products, World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)
• Shobha Shukla, coordinator, Global AMR Media Alliance – GAMA

Thomas Joseph, Head, AMR Awareness, Advocacy and Campaigns, World
Health Organization (WHO) Geneva.

“Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) makes infections difficult or impossible to treat.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a problem driven by misuse and overuse of antimicrobial
medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, and results in critical medicines losing
effectiveness to treat infections.

AMR is associated with 5 million deaths a year. Besides this, there is the huge burden of
morbidity and healthcare expenditure that can affect household welfare severely. The World
Bank estimates that Global GDP could fall by $1 to $3.4 trillion annually after 2030 due to

There are several issues of access and equity affecting AMR. Research and Development of
new treatment options, including new antibiotics, is not prioritized due to a sector-wide
market failure. As a result, we are running out of treatment options and new drugs are not
coming into the market.

Even when new medicines finally reach the market, low- and middle-income countries are not able to access these due to intellectual property and pricing constraints. Antimicrobials should be regarded as global public goods. Country /governments should strengthen their health systems and push for universal health coverage so all have access to needed antimicrobials prescribed by registered healthcare providers.

People working on AMR can learn from the rich history of HIV programmes especially in
increasing awareness, securing behaviour change and in promoting local, national and globaladvocacy to address AMR effectively.”

Beatrice Atim Odwong Anywar, Uganda’s Minister of State for Environment,and Member of Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR):

“We are at a critical point in time to act against Antimicrobial Resistance or AMR. We are lessthan a year from the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on AMR in 2024.

The attention to AMR is growing and it is rightly so. The UN High Level Meeting on AMR next year is a critical opportunity to further accelerate the response to AMR.
AMR is associated with nearly 5 million human deaths every year which occur overwhelmingly in the low- and middle-income countries like Uganda. It is in these countries where the burden of diseases is the greatest and the causes of AMR are complex, and interrelated to overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health sectors.

This misuse and overuse of antimicrobial medicines is driving the development of
AMR, and lack of sanitation hygiene and waste management across sectors are further
fuelling its spread. The economic cost of AMR is enormous.

Uganda is spearheading action against AMR across sectors such as human health, animal
health, food and agriculture, and the environment. Uganda is also working with Global
Leaders Group on AMR to heighten the political action to advance progress in combating
AMR with One Health approach.

We need to unpack issues related to AMR and simplify the scientific language around it so
that common people such as farmers can understand the problem and address overuse or
misuse of antimicrobials.”

Vanessa Carter, an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) patient survivor, One Health
advocate, Chairperson of the World Health Organization (WHO) Taskforce of
AMR Survivors, and founder of The AMR Narrative.

“I would like to share my story of how I survived antimicrobial resistance or AMR. In 2004, I was 25 years old. I had a severe car accident in Johannesburg, South Africa, and I ended up in a hospital with a lot of massive injuries. I had been resuscitated on the side of the road, I was put on life support, had multiple fractures in my face, I had a broken jaw and a broken nose, and had also lost one eye. I also had a head injury, major abdominal injury, fractured pelvis, neck, and back injury. I had to undergo two laparotomies- had to undergo two laparotomies.

But the most complicated ones were to my face, and it took me 10 years to
recover from them. I needed services from a range of medical super specialists to
reconstruct my face. Over the years following the accident, I have had 4 different prosthetics implants.

In the sixth year after the accident, I had the 4th facial prosthetic implant, and was
discharged from the hospital eventually.

I went out shopping one day and when I came out and got into my car, I felt moisture on my face.

When I looked into the rear-view mirror, I saw moisture seeping all over the face. It was
from the prosthetic that was implanted. I was admitted into emergency surgery when they
did “debridement” and a little bit of reconstructive surgery to fix up the damaged tissue.
Two weeks later, the infection came back again but this time was even worse. I got more of
tissue reconstruction as more of the tissue was damaged. But the infection came back again and again, and it worsened. This went on for the next 11 months during which I was under the care of a range of surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, ENT surgeons, ophthalmic surgeons (because of the complication I had with the artificial eye), etc.

To cut a long story short, I was diagnosed with an antibiotic resistant form of MRSA infection.

I could not undergo any more surgeries for one year, as the doctors had to wait for tissue to recover first.

I had to cover my face as I looked terrible. I could not go to fetch my child from
school because the kids would get scared looking at me. I could not wear my artificial eye,
my face was very red, full of fluid and swollen.

After a lot of effort, I found a cranio-facial doctor in Johannesburg who did a surgery on my
bone- the bone was cut and realigned. I got the infection back again in the bone and skin. I
had to deal with that for another year. He rotated antibiotics until finally he could do a small touchup plastic surgery so that I could uncover my face.

I lost most of my life between 25-35 years of age, dealing with the hospitalization and
discharge, and not being able to look in the mirror without seeing a changed face.
When I learned about antibiotic resistance, it came as a surprise that why was it not a
common knowledge as it is so widespread and a global threat.

Whether we go for a surgery or cut our finger, better be careful to not get infected with a
microbe that is resistant to medicines.

In my case, I nearly got a bloodstream infection and sepsis and nearly died. But I am also
living with a severe disability now- facial disfiguration which was partially caused by the
accident but exacerbated by the fact that we could not treat this infection.”

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