WHSA Advocates for Youth Action Against AMR

The International Association of Dental Students (IADS), the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) and the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) have chosen Antimicrobial Resistance as the World Health Students´ Alliance’s top priority for the upcoming year. The World Health Students’ Alliance is one of the largest inter-professional healthcare alliances representing over 1.8 million health students in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), has been declared as one of the biggest threats to human health. By 2050, it is predicted that AMR will cause the deaths of more than 10 million people and a reduction of 2-3.5% in gross domestic product (GDP). This would cost the global economy up to 100 trillion USD and be equivalent in impact to the 2008-2009 financial crisis. This year, gonorrhea was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be resistant to all treatments in at least ten countries. Over the next 35 years, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is predicted to kill 75 million people and could cost the global economy a cumulative 16.7 trillion USD. However, it is not just about infections. The whole future of modern medicine is at stake: most modern procedures including C-sections and cancer therapies will be rendered useless without functioning antibiotics.

The Alliance launched a social media campaign for the World Antimicrobial Resistance Week (November 13-19th 2017) using the hashtag #WHSAvsAMR. It ran on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram thus helping our members to raise awareness among their communities. A global competition using #WHSAvsAMR was held throughout the week for the best visual graphics on AMR. According to preliminary analysis, the #WHSAvsAMR Campaign was seen by more than 100 000 people worldwide.

The International Association of Dental Students acknowledges the growing importance of antimicrobial resistance and advocates for finding solutions to this global issue. We aim to raise awareness among the international dental students’ community regarding global health matters such as AMR. In addition to the globally coordinated #WHSAvsAMR campaign, there were also events held on a local and national scale at universities and communities.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) has chosen Antimicrobial Resistance as one of its main focus areas. IFMSA advocates for the role of youth and health students in fighting AMR, through active participation in high-level meetings on AMR, such as the 72th United Nations General Assembly in New York and the AMR Call to Action meeting in Berlin. IFMSA builds the capacity of its 1.3 million members by equipping them with the knowledge and the skills to take on active roles in a local and global level. This year, more than 10 National Member Organizations had their own national activities and social media campaigns around the #WHSAvsAMR campaign. More than 200 members posted AMR related post on their social media, actively participating in the promotion. IFMSA also will be holding a specialized workshop for health students on Antimicrobial Resistance during the Youth Pre – World Health Assembly which will be held in Geneva in May 2018.

Enhancing the understanding of antimicrobial resistance and prevention is one of main public health goals of The International Pharmaceutical Students´ Federation strives to achieve each year. Constant education and mutual collaboration are IPSFs’ key assets in contribution to global health. During the #WHSAvsAMR week, many national organizations and individuals participated in the campaign by submitting AMR related comics for the competition. In addition to public health campaigns and webinars, IPSF also presented statements at 7th Global Forum on Health Promotion (7GFHP) in Geneva, Switzerland and Antimicrobial Resistance Conference: Advocating a Behaviour Change in London. IPSF firmly believes that collaboration in joint interdisciplinary efforts is the key method in combating AMR.

AMR has been a focus of the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) for several years. As an organization of future health professionals, IVSA strives to stay at the forefront of AMR advocacy. Veterinary medicine plays a crucial role in the fight against AMR. For this reason, IVSA actively works to educate and prevent antimicrobial resistance through the action of its members. This year, IVSA hosted a poster competition with the goal of designing a creative and informative infographic on the dangers of antimicrobial misuse in the veterinary community and highlight what IVSA can do about it. The winner of the competition will be featured in the upcoming IVSA publication – the Veterinary Public Health Journal – and their poster will be shared with members across the globe.

In conclusion, AMR is an emerging global health catastrophe affecting all professional groups alike. Therefore, the World Health Students’ Alliance is calling upon interdisciplinary collaboration: the One Health Approach. One Health is a global strategy, integrating the effort of multiple disciplines to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. These three entities make up the One Health triad, with the health of each intricately connected to the others. Without involving the health professionals of tomorrow, the fight against AMR risks to fail already today.


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