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AMR has been linked to close to 5 million deaths annually. We need urgent global action to counter antimicrobial resistance, but current efforts focus on solutions developed in high-income settings. If we want people to become less dependent on antibiotics, we must address the factors that create dependency on antibiotics in the first place. The solution we are working towards is fair and inclusive; it respects people and their traditions while also benefiting human health, animal welfare and the natural environment.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria © National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Marina Joubert (Science Communication Researcher, Stellenbosch University), Phaik Yeong Cheah (Professor of Global Health, MORU) and Sonia Lewycka (Epidemiologist, OUCRU) post an article in The Conversation for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week, which aims to improve awareness and understanding.

AMR is a global issue, but there are some regional differences. Most human deaths from antimicrobial resistance occur in sub-Saharan Africa; drug resistance is a growing concern in malaria and tuberculosis in these regions. Low-income environments often go hand in hand with the use of cheap antimicrobials that may be of poor quality or even falsified. These create the ideal conditions for resistance to emerge.

Everybody is exposed, everywhere, and the global response needs to be fair to all. The three authors are part of the Global Convening Programme, set up by the British Academy, that looks into solutions to this problem that are fair and inclusive, emphasizing equity and sustainability in the fight against this silent killer.

Read the article 'Antimicrobial resistance is a silent killer that leads to 5 million deaths a year. Solutions must include the poor' on The Conversation website.

"AMR is dangerous!"

1st panel:

The picture depicts the evolution of microbes into a 'Superbug.' The 'Superbug' is portrayed sitting on a chair, casually sipping antimicrobials as if it was a cup of coffee, reading a survival guidebook.

Text box 1:

What is
antimicrobial resistance or AMR?
In our body, there are many good microbes, but when bad microbes enter our bodies, it can make us sick.

Text box 2:

When we take antimicrobials, the microbes that survive will multiply and could evolve to become 'Superbugs' which are hard or sometimes impossible, to be killed.

2nd panel:

Two young men are standing by their younger brother's bed in the hospital, curious about what made their brother sick.

Text box 1:

The superbug makes simple skin infections, lung infections, or bladder infections become harder to treat. This is not only results in increased cost, but people may die from the infections.
The next time you use antimicrobials, please remember that their misuse can lead to AMR.

3rd panel:

One of the brothers, while scouting on an animal farm, discovered that the farmers use a lot of antimicrobials to raise their animals.

Text box 1:

One of the major causes of AMR is industrial livestock farming, where overcrowded conditions create a higher risk of animals getting sick.

Text box 2:

Overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in livestock may lead to contamination of antimicrobials in water sources and animal meat.

4th panel:

The three brothers inform the readers about what they should do to avoid antimicrobial resistance.

Text box 1:

What should we do?
Avoid behaviors that contribute to antimicrobial resistance, such as:
- Avoid self-medicating with antimicrobials.
- Stop overusing antimicrobials in animal.

Text box 2:

- Don't use drugs without knowing their generic names.
- Don't ignore the advice of experts. and
- Don't forget to take care of yourself!© Narodom Nectjui