World Antibiotic Awareness Week: a look at Kenya

Nov 17, 2017

This article was authored by Eric Fevre (Twitter: @EricFevre)

On 14th November, the Kenya Veterinary Association (Twitter @KVANational) hosted a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) event at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi, Kenya.  The Faculty is a collaborator in many of the ZED group’s projects, and recently, we have been awarded funds to develop a joint programme, with a number of other partners, on Antimicrobial Resistance.  Thus, an AMR CPD event, part of #WAAW, was a good opportunity to talk to stakeholders.

The audience consisted of Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Paraprofessionals, medical practitioners, scientists, journalists, students and the lay public.  The combined professional experience in the auditorium with the use of antibiotics in the veterinary and medical sectors was enormous, and it was an honour to represent the livestock research agenda at such a gathering, on behalf of both the International Livestock Research Institute and the Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool.

The Kenya Medical Research Institute kicked off with an overview of the situation in Kenya – Kenya is far advanced compared with many countries in recognizing the AMR problem, and has, for example, just released its National Action Plan and National Policy (which can be downloaded by clicking here ).  None the less, there are clearly many evidence gaps.

MoALF, CS Dr Tuimur (far left) and Health CS Dr. Cleopa Mailu (immediate far left) launching the World Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Week and Kenya AMR National Action Plan and National Policy

The Food and Agriculture Organization, represented by ex-ILRI Graduate Fellow Stella Kiambi, presented the wider policy view and the FAO approach to AMR.  The National Action Plan itself was presented by the Department of Veterinary Services, followed by two Ministry of Health presentations on the public health impacts of AMR and antimicrobial stewardship.  The NGO World Animal Protection then highlighted the issue from the animal perspective, focused on the impacts of growth promoters and housing on animal welfare. Eric Fèvre then presented a livestock research agenda on AMR in the country, focusing his presentation on the evidence needs for implementing policy on AMR.

This was a very interdisciplinary meeting, co-ordinated and managed by the Kenya Veterinary Association who demonstrably want to play their part in working towards better management and use of antimicrobials, especially in the veterinary sector.  The energy around this issue in Kenya is clear, and there are many opportunities for collaboration and research to provide policymakers with the solid evidence required to implement Kenya’s new National Action Plan.

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