The 13th of October 2018, heralded the first Me You and The Superbugs event in Nigeria. The Me You and The Superbugs project is a public engagement initiative to increase knowledge about antibiotic resistance. Led by Dr Orode Aniejurengho from Oxford University, the event was held in Lagos, Nigeria sponsored by the Royal Society of Biology Regional Grant Scheme for Biology Week 2018. The global rise in antibiotic-resistant infections, causes over 700 000 deaths annually. With 10 million deaths projected by 2050, it is reported that Africa and Asia will bear the burden over 90% of antibiotic resistance-related deaths. Hence, the project aims to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance amongst school children and adults.
Two sessions were held: first, a public-engagement training session for the speakers and volunteers, which included scientists and healthcare professionals. Followed by, the main event to raise awareness in the local community. Using simple props, hand-hygiene demonstrations and videos, the team showcased how antibiotic resistance occurs; the importance of personal hygiene and correct use antibiotics to members of the public including adults and school children. As part of the event’s evaluation, knowledge and attitudes of members of the public towards antibiotic use were investigated, before and after the event. 85% of attendees said the event changed their views on antibiotic use and 61% reported that they received information about antibiotic resistance that they had not heard before.
Dr Orode Anieurengho, Me You and The Superbugs leader, says: “Although everyone can do something to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance, members of the African public need more engagement with scientists and healthcare professionals to be equipped with knowledge regarding their role. The first event was welcomed by attendees online and offline. The RSB sponsorship gave my team and I the platform to set sail and reach out to both adults and young people, it allowed us to assess the usefulness of this kind of initiative in Nigeria. Although, more needs to be done to raise awareness, increase knowledge and better understand the attitudes of the public towards antibiotic use.”
As part of Oxford University, Dr Orode Aniejurengho has been shortlisted for this year’s Public Engagement Category at the 2019 Antibiotic Guardian Awards. The awards, hosted by Public Health England, which recognise achievements to combat antimicrobial resistance across the world, will take place on June 27th in Birmingham. In March 2019, she also received a Nigerian Healthcare Professionals UK, NHS @70 Excellence Award in the innovation category.
Me You and The Superbugs shares updates through its website and social media channels. In 2019, three events including 2 secondary school poster competitions and an outreach event will be held in the city of Ibadan and Lagos Nigeria. Interested speakers, collaborators and volunteers from within the University and outside can contact the team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank the public engagement office at the University of Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, for their support in the planning of the Me You and The Superbugs event.