By Christian Benard

Citizen-generated data is crucial in addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), according to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

“The Antimicrobial Resistance research community should explore ways of involving the thoughts and ideas of citizens in research undertakings that target challenges on AMR, especially in hard-to-reach areas such as arid and semi-arid lands,” said Karen Bett, Policy Manager at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, during the launch of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Karen Bett giving a presentation at the launch.

A report produced by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data team indicated that among the key drivers of AMR include risky health-seeking practices on antibiotics among citizens, inadequate and under-resourced health services, lack of detailed guidance on use of antibiotics and consequences, and weak enforcement of regulations on medications.

The data collected by the body in finding out how well informed citizens are, on the appropriate use of antibiotics, shows that out of a sample of 5,313 participants who opted to have their views analyzed, 31% are not informed at all. About 40% are a little bit informed, a distant 8% are well informed while 4% are very well informed.

Across the targeted locations which included Bungoma, Kiambu and Kilifi, a sum of 38 interactive radio shows were hosted on 4 local radio stations with 16 key informant interviews also conducted.

Participants at the WAAW in a Nairobi hotel

She said that quality patient engagement should be driven on AMR in order to tackle misinformation and improve levels of trust with citizens.

“Health care workers should take a holistic view of addressing AMR by understanding the role of community engagement and drawing on lessons from Citizen-Generated Data (CGD) to inform their engagement with patients,” Bett said.

Stressing that investment in Antimicrobial Resistance is a public health priority, she stated: “Policy makers should embrace citizen-generated data as a critical data source on a par with official data sources and partner with civil society organizations to collect, analyze, and use citizen-generated data to inform programs, monitor their effectiveness and engage citizens.”