The Buddy System: An initiative to slow down the antibiotic misuse

1st International Congress for Innovation in Global Surgery

doi: 10.52648/ICIGS.1000_8

The Buddy System: An initiative to slow down the antibiotic misuse

Taranjot Kaur , Ishaan Wazir, Alia Naaz
Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Government Medical College, Nahan, India; Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, New Delhi, India

The dearth of new antibiotics and rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global challenge. With almost 700,000 people losing the battle to AMR every year and another 10 million projected to die from it by 2050, AMR is killing more people than cancer and road traffic accidents combined, in India.

Easy availability of drugs, prevailing misinformation, and the absence of proper guidelines for public use have resulted in irrational antibiotic consumption. Our innovation – the “Buddy System” is in no way an alternative to these antibiotics, but, it does have the capability to slow down this process and buy us sufficient time to make amends.

AMR has multifactorial causation, however, but our focus, here, is on the patient aspect (mainly self-diagnosis and treatment). With a population of 1.38 billion, it is extremely tough to impose the regulations, so our best bet is to increase awareness. We aim to educate the general public about the rising trends of AMR and judicial use of antibiotics, enabling them to make prudent and informed choices, resulting in lesser antibiotic abuse and a flattened curve of AMR.

The Buddy System uses a hybrid of the orthodox concept of PHONE TREES and modern tactics. Our vision is to form a network, wherein interested medical students (Buddy officers) will be allotted one school each, where they will make a team of students and educate them. These school students will further train their acquaintances, relatives, and the general public, expanding our reach exponentially.

We have planned our Buddy System from scratch and have formulated a detailed plan that addresses the financial, structural, and therapeutic hurdles, including some major challenges like the lack of consistency, standardisation of data, large population size, monitoring, and feedback.

Our intervention is unique because the person at the top of this hierarchy will be a trained medical officer and hence, the data will be evidence-backed and medically sound. Further, we plan to use our biggest challenge, i.e., huge population, as our mighty asset to expand our reach. All we need is a roadmap to create a working model by reallocating and recruiting the general public in this machinery to create this self-sustaining, community-based model of preventive health care. The sole use of trained manpower makes this project very cost-sufficient and feasible.

The most critical part, however, will be to find the source of continuous motivation for all, which we know would not be easy. We are betting on our convincing skills to try and rope in the local authorities and the educational institutes. We also hope that once we will set up a basic working model, it will be easier to get good backup from our government as well as the international agencies.

Millions of dollars are being invested globally to develop antibiotics; however, our intervention provides a much cheaper and time-effective alternative. Feeding the public correct and unadulterated information and making them realise how their everyday choices will have a much wider impact than they think, will help us win the battle against AMR.

Keywords: Antibiotic Abuse, Antimicrobial Resistance, Public Health

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