A2M Week 2016
After weeks of preparation the 14th of November finally arrived: the start of Access to Medicine week 2016. A week full of events build around the central theme: antimicrobial resistance and the failing R&D system. Our university faculties and Facebook pages started turning yellow and the slogan: ‘let’s tackle the superbugs together’ could not be missed. Flyers were spread, posters were hung and the word started going round. Video messages with questions like: “do you ever take an antibiotic for a cold or flu?” and “what if you are already resistance and can’t be cured anymore?” popped up on everybody’s news feed, making more and more people interested and eager to join the events we had organised for the week.
Only Monday evening we kicked off with a pub quiz at Peter’s Irish Pub. It was a full house. Although not all people attending were affiliated with UAEM, more than 100 people were present. And oh dear, our knowledge was put to test. Questions like “who are the female co-founders of Hogwarts” were alternated at high speeds with questions about antibiotic resistance. Whilst enjoying a beer, brains were cracked and knowledge was gained. After the winning team collected its prize, everybody left full new information about antimicrobial resistance and what he or she can do about this problem.
After this night, questions that kept floating around in our brains needed answers. UAEM Maastricht partnered up with De Brandweer to shed light on some of the important mechanisms of AMR during the screening of the award winning documentary “Resistance.” One and a half hour of breathless watching, and intensely sipping on drinks and nibbling on snacks, later everyone was moved by the microscopic world of bacteria, the harrowing personal stories of people related to AMR and the seemingly dark future that is ahead of us. However the motivational flow to fight this future and tackle the problem started when Shelly Parry, a UAEM member who wrote her thesis about an AMR related topic, guided a discussion on the topic. How did we get to this point? What can we do to turn the tide? A discussion about new ways of creating antibiotics started and people requested more information which we sent them afterwards via mail. All of the audience left enlightened and motivated.
On Thursday night, we left the stage to the chair of the Dutch Malaria Foundation, author of a Ted-X talk and award winner of an Ig Nobel Prize and Eijman medal, Bart Knols, for a lecture on malaria and the resistance to its treatment. The world of malaria resistance opened up for the audience, which was shocked by the number of fake drugs being shipped in Africa every day. Afterwards more discussion under the enjoyment of some beers and pepernoten went on until the late hours.
On Friday we closed off the week with a blast: Music for Medicines mesh up at the Mandril. A party at the Mandril Cultural and Political Centre featuring artists with colourful vibes in a magical space dancing on funky tunes.
Eager and motivated to fight for our goals and fight AMR we look back on a very successful Access to Medicine Week. Throughout the week a lot of people got interested in UAEM, and we were humbled by the amount of people who would like to join our organisation. We will keep in close contact with them and invite everyone to our member recruitment in January 2017. Following the pictures: they say more than a 1000 words!
Many thanks to everyone who helped organising this year’s Access to Medicine week and to everyone who attended our events! Let’s tackle these superbugs together and see you next year!