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Disseminating scientific-based knowledge, to foster cultural and behavior changes for combatting environmental and human health impacts associated to antimicrobial resistance during and after covid-19 epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: case of Congo DR

English title Disseminating scientific-based knowledge, to foster cultural and behavior changes for combatting environmental and human health impacts associated to antimicrobial resistance during and after covid-19 epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: case of Congo DR
Applicant Poté Wembonyama John
Number 203453
Funding scheme Agora
Research institution Institut F.-A. Forel Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.07.2021 - 31.12.2022
Approved amount 49'928.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Medical Microbiology

Keywords (9)

International long term collaboration; Evidence knowledge; epidemiology prevention; Building and strengthening of capacity; water contamination; Communication/dialogue/Education; pathogens; antibiotic resistance; General public

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La résistance aux antimicrobiens (RAM) est reconnue comme l'une des plus grandes menaces mondiales pour la santé publique, l'environnement et la sécurité alimentaire. D’après l'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé, bien que la pandémie de COVID-19 soit une priorité sanitaire actuelle, la RAM peut constituer l'une des sources potentielles d’une prochaine crise sanitaire mondiale. Dans ce contexte, il nécessaire et urgent de mener des actions importantes pour la prévention de la RAM aux niveaux cliniques, vétérinaires, agricoles et environnementaux. Le but poursuivi par ce projet est d’agir par des actions de communication, de sensibilisation et d’éducation auprès du grand public et de publics cibles afin de communiquer les résultats de nos recherches scientifiques financées par le Fond National Suisse (FNS) et de promouvoir des stratégies de collaboration et de partage de connaissances pour lutter contre la RAM.
Lay summary

Selon les résultats de nos projets de recherches scientifiques financés par le Fond National suisse (FNS), de grandes quantités de bactéries et de gènes de résistance aux antibiotiques de dernière génération sont détectés aux niveaux cliniques et dans l'environnement aquatique en Suisse, en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) et dans le sud de l'Inde. La situation est dramatique en RDC et en Inde car il n’y a pas de régulation et actuellement la population a recours à l’automédication, notamment la prise des antibiotiques comme un des moyens de prévention contre le COVID-19. Cela accentuerait encore cette problématique de la résistance aux antimicrobiens (RAM). Dans ce contexte, ce projet propose au-delà de nos publications scientifiques, un partage des connaissances avec le grand public et différents publics cibles sur la question de la RAM. L'approche de communication sera multisectorielle incluant tant le grand public (en Suisse et en RDC), que les milieux cliniques, vétérinaires, agricoles et environnementaux, ainsi que les autorités et décideurs politiques. Au niveau suisse, le canton de Genève sera privilégié comme public de référence et modèle pour ce projet. Les méthodes et les scénarios qui seront développés pour atteindre des publics spécifiques, comprendront notamment des ateliers interactifs sur les bonnes pratiques et utilisations des antibiotiques; campagnes de terrain, contact direct avec le public; des supports publicitaires tels que des affiches, des T-shirts, des dépliants (flyers) en différentes langues locales; des médias électroniques (réseaux sociaux) et populaires. Ce projet offre une très bonne opportunité non seulement de communiquer les résultats de nos recherches scientifiques aux grands publics, mais également de promouvoir des stratégies de partage des connaissances pour lutter contre la RAM par la communication.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 24.05.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
188357 On the track of molecular epidemiology of Multidrug Resistant Gram Negative Bacteria across diverse settings, according to the different geographical location and climatic conditions; Switzerland and Sub-Saharan Africa 01.09.2019 Scientific Exchanges
173281 Evaluation of environmental impacts in water ecosystems with genetic based bacteriological and physicochemical aspects guided sustainable water resource management in developing countries; Case of south India and sub-Saharan Africa 01.10.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
150163 Evaluation of environmental impacts in water ecosystems with genetic based bacteriological and physicochemical aspects guided sustainable water resource management in developing countries; Case of south India and sub-Saharan Africa 01.05.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Since early 2020, the entire humanity has been shaken by a major health crisis due to the emergence of the COVID-19 epidemic, affecting many areas of people lives including public health and socio-economic sectors and the psychological consequences of this unusual situation. It can also have negative environmental consequences, which are likely to lead to other global health crises in the future such as exacerbating the problem of antibiotic resistance, even though, antibiotics do not treat or prevent viral infections like COVID-19. This project proposal is therefore interested in the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics during this pandemic in several regions of developing countries in tropical climates, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa which, according to our surveys carried out in Kinshasa (capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC)) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and reports from the field, has tripled or even quadrupled between April and November 2020. The population is self-medicating, using antibiotics for the treatment of symptoms and the prevention of COVID-19. According to the results of our research projects before COVID-19 funded by the Swiss National Fund (SNSF), large amounts of bacteria and genes of resistance to antibiotics of the latest generation, in particular classes of beta-lactams and carbapenems, are detected. in the aquatic environment of sub-Saharan Africa particularly in the DRC and southern India. This dissemination is due to several factors, including: (1) the non-regulation of the use of antibiotics in human medicine in the studied regions; (2) the lack of wastewater treatment systems; (3) open defecation; and (4) mostly the lack of strategies for communication, public awareness raising and education, and people practice of scientific results. Given this picture, the following recommendations were made in the context of our results: In addition to reinforcing the regulation for the necessary and appropriate use of antibiotics, the need to promoting the dissemination of our results to experts and especially to the unformed public about the potential impacts of chemical and bacteriological pollutions into water and the spread of pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes. Moreover, according to the WHO, although the COVID-19 pandemic is a current health priority, the existing health crises and diseases should not be neglected, and antimicrobial resistance is one of the global health crises. In this context, it therefore requires urgent attention and action. The methodology applied in our previous SNSF projects for the evaluation of the quality of urban and hospital effluents has an advantage in highlighting the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in relation to the geographical scale. We integrate existing data from clinical settings showing antibiotic consumption trends to understand the past and present prescriptions/uses of antibiotics. Also, our results from the environmental samples show the global impact of the exposure to antibiotics, including transmission routes based on community behavior rather than on the individual receiving the antibiotics. Therefore, the main objective of this community outreach project is to maximise the impact of our research findings on practice beyond scientific publication in sharing knowledge and our scientific evidence on the issue of antibiotic resistance, in a plain language, to both scientific and non-specialist audiences, raising public awareness for behavior change, educating, and providing appropriate training on antibiotic use. The communication approach will be multisectoral including end-users (public), scientists as well as political authorities. Several communication channels will be used to reach specific audiences, including interactive workshops on implementation of good practice guidelines; field and media campaigns for knowledge mobilisation; advertising materials such as posters, T-shirts, leaflets in local language for the public, electronic and popular media outlets that provide a wider audience than peer-reviewed journals. This project offers a unique opportunity not only to communicate our scientific research results to end-users (public) but also to promote strategies for sharing knowledge to combat antimicrobial resistance through communication.
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