Young People at the Forefront of the Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance

By Dr. Irene Drymiotou, Researcher, Learning in Science Group – University of Cyprus

The second awareness-raising campaign on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) concluded successfully at the Nicosia Mall of Cyprus on 7 April, 2024. The event was organized by the Learning in Science Group (LSG) of the University of Cyprus in collaboration with The Junior and Senior School and Private Greek School Nicosia, with support from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth, in partnership with Dr. Panagiota Mylona, Inspector of Biology of Secondary General Education.

The event was organised within the framework of the European-funded research program Multiplayers Partnerships to ensure meaningful engagement with Science and Society (MULTIPLIERS), aiming to establish a network of cooperation among schools, communities, organised groups, academic institutions and businesses to foster a deeper understanding of the scientific processes and debates surrounding various socio-scientific issues concerning public health. In Cyprus, MULTIPLIERS focuses on Antimicrobial Resistance. Cyprus ranks among the countries of the European Union with the highest consumption of antibiotic drugs and the highest rates of antimicrobial resistance and infections from multidrug-resistant microbes, which increase mortality. Therefore, raising public awareness of this problem is vital.

Contributing to this effort, the event provided the public with the opportunity to participate in fun activities and learn about the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Students from the Senior School warmly welcomed visitors with informative materials and games they had prepared including small quizzes, informative flyers, digital games, modeling activities, and memory games, in collaboration with their teachers, Mrs. Melina Chrysostomou and Mrs. Anna Michaelidou. Similarly, students from the PASCAL School under the guidance of their teacher, Mrs. Stella Pantazi, created a board game to engage visitors and raise awareness about AMR.

In addition to schools, the event brought together various experts to deepen our understanding of different aspects of the AMR problem. Specifically, chemists and microbiologists from the CP. Foodlab laboratory focused on the use of antibiotics in resistant and non-resistant microbes. The InSSTER research center, in the context of the European program ICSE Factory, emphasised the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste through a board game. Health professionals from the Infection Control Nursing Branch of the Cyprus Nurses and Midwives Association (ΠΑΣΥΝΜ) highlighted the importance of hand hygiene. Academics from the Cyprus Epidemiology and Public Health Association (CyEPHA) and the Medical School of the University of Nicosia, with backgrounds in medicine, epidemiology and microbiology, were interviewed by students, addressing questions about their efforts in combating antimicrobial resistance and their professional background.

The event underscored the importance of raising awareness of AMR through enjoyable activities as a key tool in the fight against AMR, fostering collaboration among different stakeholders.