Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Highly successful Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Campaign at Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India - A report by Dr. A. J. Tamhankar
An Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Campaign of the INDIAN INITIATIVE FOR MANAGEMENT OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE (IIMAR) was conducted at Tiruchirapalli- (also called `Trichy`) - in Tamil Nadu, in India on 25th August 2009. The programme consisted of explanation of the emerging problem of Antibiotic Resistance at a person to person level to eminent persons of Tiruchirapalli and also to the Physicians, Pharmacists and the general public in Trichy. This was accompanied by the distribution of Antibiotic Resiatance awareness brochures to all these people. The brochures addressed to the Physicians, Pharmacists and the public at large were different from each other. The programme started with the release of the brochures at the hands of Dr.M.Ponnavaikko, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the Bharatidasan University (BDU). The inaugural function was attended by the Registrar of BDU, and also the faculty of the university. In the photograph we see (from right) Dr.N.Thajuddin -HOD, Dept of Microbiology, Dr.M.Ponnavaikko -the Vice Chancellor (releasing the first brochure to the Registrar), Mr. Nachimuthu Ramesh -Trichy Coordinator of IIMAR campaign, Dr.T.Ramasamy -Registrar of BDU and Dr.V.RajeshKannan and Dr. Dhanasekaran of the Dept of Microbiology. All these dignitaries joined IIMAR. The campaign at Trichy was organised in collaboration with two other organizations- the district unit of the Human Rights Organization and a local Social Organization "Sneham". Amongst the next two photos, in the first we see smt. S. Sujatha, Worshipful Mayor of Tiruchirappalli, and in the second, the commissioner of the Municipal corporation of Trichy, Mr. T.T. Balsamy, (extreme left in the next photo) being given the brochures and being
explained the problem of antibiotic resistance. Also present in the photo
are Trichy District Coordinator of Human Rights Organization and also of `Sneham` Social Organization, Mr.Paul Guna Loganath and Mr. N. Ramesh. After campaigning with the Mayor and the commissioner of the city, the campaign moved to the District collector`s office. The District Collector, Mr.T. Soundiah (in the centre of the next photograph) was explained the importance of the rational use of antibiotics and also how if we fail to use the antibiotics rationally, how our future generations will suffer. Mr. Soundiah assured his full cooperation to the campaign and joined IIMAR. At the collectorate with Mr. Soundaiah was also present the Dean of the Government Hospital Dr. C. Balasubramanian (seen in the photo along with Mr. soundiah), who offered his full cooperation to the campaign and Joined IIMAR. The full support of Dr. C. Balasubramanian was amply evident by his actions and here, in the photo on the left we can see the Public Relations Officer of the hospital exhibiting the brochures on the notice board. The IIMAR campaigners then distributed the brochures amongst the physicians of the hospital as well as the physicians of the Geethanjali medical centre and discussed the problem of antibiotic resistance with them.
The Pharmacists form an important link in the supply of antibiotics to the customers/patients and they need to be involved in any campaign on rational use of antibiotics. Several Pharmacists were contacted. The photo shows the campaigners explaining to the staff of VASAN Medicals -with the help of brochures specially made for pharmacists-, how the pharmacists can help in the rational use of antibiotics.
The legal fraternity is an influencial component of any community. The practicing lawyers (photo on the left) and also the sub-judge Mr. M. Gomathi Nayagam, Secretary, District Legal service Authority,Tiruchirappalli (seen in the photo on the right) were also contacted in the campaign and made aware of the spreading antibiotic resistance problem.

The campaign also had in its programme the distribution of the brochures to the public at large and also explaining to them the importance of rational use of antibiotics. In this effort, IIMAR was joined by The District Zonal Planning Officer, who personally came along with the campaigners to distribute the brochures. The brochures for the common man were made in the local language `Tamil`. The local populace showed a keen interest in understanding the problem.
The campaign coincided with the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership- GARP -India Inaugural meeting in New delhi In India.
(Note: Separate brochures for the Physicians, Pharmacists and the Public at large have been prepared by Dr. A. J. Tamhankar using material from several authentic sources.)

Mr N. Ramesh-Ph.D scholar at BDU, Trichy and IIMAR`s star campaigner at Trichy joins me to report further----
"Under the overall guidance of the National Coordinator of IIMAR- Dr.A. J.Tamhankar we planned to conduct the Antibiotic Resistance awareness programme in and around Trichy region. For that we prepared attractive multi-colour brochures with the direction of the National Coordinator-IIMAR and planned to distribute them to Common people, Physicians and Pharmacist using separate brochure for each of them. The local advisory committee consisted of Dr.V.RajeshKannan and Dr.N.Thajuddin. The Vice-chancellor was kind enough to give permission to the campaign and very aptly suggested to make the brochures for the common man in the local `Tamil` language. We distributed a total of 2500 brochures during the campaign day. All the higher authorities responded very nicely and suggested to conduct the campaign in municipal wards as well as in villages because this is the first time any`Antibiotic resistance awareness campaign` was being conducted in the area. They have promised to support such an effort. The doctors at the Geethanjaly medical centre asked us to conduct this programme in rural areas. The pharmacist also responded very well and they were asking that the `government must develop rules regarding the judicial use of antibiotics and do something with the prescription format also`. They suggested to-do the awareness programme on radio and Television.
And finally, we distributed the brochures to common people on Uraiyur four road, GH road, Thillai Nager, Collector off road, in and around Trichy bus stand and in and around university campus. Everybody`s response was very good; especially our university staff -they voluntarily took extra copies from us to distribute in their local area. Now, daily at least one or two of them tell me that `the brochures have given very good information which we did not know till now and now we realise what are all the problems that will come if we do not use antibiotics properly. "
IIMAR expresses its sincere thanks to the members of the local advisory committee- Dr.V.Rajesh Kannan and Dr.N.Thajuddin of the Dept of Microbiology, Bharathidasan University who supported whole heartedly this awareness programme and saw to it that it became a great success. IIMAR also expresses thanks to the Vice Chancellor and Registrar of the BharatiDasan University for giving permission to conduct this programme under its auspices and also staff, scholars, and students of the university who cooperated in this effort. Last but not the least we wholeheartedly thank the local press for their cooperation and particularly the `Malaimalar` daily news paper for publishing reports of the event. And Off course thanks to all our well wishers and many annonymous supporters.