WHY AM I NOT GETTING ANY BETTER?- MUPhaS’ Successful Antimicrobial Resistance Public Health Campaign

 “A post anti-biotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can kill, it is far from being an apocalyptic fantasy but instead a very real possibility in the 21st century”

-World Health Organisation

On the 15th and 16th of March 2017, the Monash University Pharmacy Society (MUPhaS) together with the International Medical University (IMU) and the Malaysian Pharmacy Students’ Association (MyPSA) organised the Antimicrobial Resistance Public Health Campaign as a part of their effort to create awareness on the heightening levels of antimicrobial resistance that has triggered alarms across the medical field all over the world. The primary objective of the event was to bring about a sense of realisation among the general public on the dangerous implications of antimicrobial resistance and to help improvise and increase their knowledge about this highly problematic issue which has rendered medical practitioners helpless when it comes to tackling certain disease outbreaks. It is vital that the student population was taught what “antimicrobial resistance” was all about and what they can do to minimize the level of resistance microorganisms acquire towards different antimicrobial drugs.

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Lots and lots of booths set up!

If you’re foreign to the whole anti-microbial resistance issue, here’s a little bit of fun facts for you:-

  • Antimicrobial resistance takes place when bacteria, viruses or parasites acquire the ability to stop the action of antimicrobial drugs like antibiotics, antivirals and anti-parasites from working against them. This ability is often obtained through the process of genetic mutation that takes place in the DNA of the organism itself, causing the DNA to code for enzymes that breakdown these drug components, rendering them useless. It could also be acquired from a series of other organisms through transduction or transformation.
  • Anti-microbial resistance causes 700,000 deaths annually and that number is expected to HIKE UP to 10,000,000 deaths annually by 2050 if y’all stubborn and don’t want to finish them antibiotics!
  • There are also bacteria that’s resistant to a series of different drugs and they’re called MULTIPLE DRUG RESISTANT (MDR) microorganisms or “Superbugs”.

Different booths were set-up throughout the event by various health organisations including the representatives from the Ministry of Health, Malaysia who had a mini exhibition on the different type of drugs that were existent in the market today. There were also booths that provided health screenings and T-shirts sale with the latter selling like hotcakes. Activities like the antimicrobial resistance quiz and the antimicrobial resistance exhibition were also organised to further entice students from different schools who dropped by to check out what the event was all about. The overall reception of the event was said to be pretty incredible with over 400 people turning up to participate and get involved with the campaign over the two-days period and some students were even going around asking if the event was going to go on for a longer period of time – a clear reflection on the positive outlook of the campaign.

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Finger painting with what appears to be blood.
Welcome to Monash guys! Where your blood pressure increases day by day.
I swear I was taller last year!
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Uh I think there’s something wrong with this scale.

A talk was also held on the 16th of March by Dr Mai Chun Wai, the Deputy Chairperson of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society – Young Pharmacist Chapter on the topic “Antimicrobial Resistance: What Exactly Did We Miss?” at room 2-1-03.

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Dr Mai Chun Wai looks so young!

As a whole, the entire event was a huge success, thanks to the collective effort from the different societies that worked incredibly hard to make sure everything worked out well. MUPhaS and IMU also took the initiative to organise a community outreach programme to educate the public on antimicrobial resistance, an event which was held at Bukit Komanwel on the 18th of March 2017.

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Smokers, be afraid of this breathalyser test!

If you are interested to keep up with all live updates and the latest news in regards to MUPhaS, you can follow them on their Facebook group called “MUPhaS” here.

Words by Calvin Fernandez

Captions by Andrew Peter Lim

Photos by Samuel Goh, Jenny Wong, Terence Kong, Sitwat Hashmi, Sashinka Pandithakoralage, & Khosyi Muhammad

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