SaS Fellowships, launched in 2022 aim to bolster existing efforts in the country to raise public awareness and action to address the public health threat of antibiotic resistance. This Fellowship programme aspires to catalyse the development of unique and impactful, evidence-informed strategies to engage the public on this issue. In the long run, the SaS Fellowships also hope to build capacity in science education, communication and public engagement in the country.
The first batch of the Fellowships were made possible with financial support from Stop Superbugs, an initiative of The British Society Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) and were administered through L V Prasad Eye Institute.
Superheroes Against Superbugs (SaS) is pleased to have supported the first batch of SaS Fellows. Over 6 months in early 2022, these Fellows developed creative tools, methods and approaches to engage school-going children and the public at large in India on the issue of antibiotic resistance. Learn more about them and their Fellowship plans here.
I am a teacher, mentor, researcher, science communicator all rolled into one with experience of combining multiple pedagogies to boost science learning. Also, communicating in different languages helps me to connect to a large audience. I have been a Foldscope collaborator (School & College students), and I have authored MHRD coursework for WASH, Sanitation & Hygiene, Waste Management. I enjoy interacting with students, answering their questions, building models, finding patterns, and networking with diverse stakeholders. I also love to learn from my interactions, observations and build teams. And I believe that together we can be unstoppable.
Institutions such as schools offer a great setting for promoting health awareness and good community practices. Familiarizing students with the proper use of antibiotics and the development of resistant microbes at this stage can help to promote behaviour change at a young age. I intend to train a nodal team of teachers for better outreach and use participatory and physical techniques in Hindi and Marathi languages to engage young students about the issue of antibiotic resistance. I will give away badges to these young student superheroes and spread awareness on social media to reach more stakeholders.
I am an Assistant Professor at Centre for One Health, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, India. Our team is involved in academics, research, and awareness activities on zoonoses (diseases that can spread from animals to humans and vice versa), food safety, animal farm biosecurity, and addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the framework of One Health.
I have been associated with projects on public health issues sponsored by various national and international public health agencies. My team and I are gathering baseline data for and carrying out evidence-based capacity building programs among various stakeholders, mainly in rural regions where the reach of science communication efforts is limited. I strongly believe that the mission of scientists and academics is unfinished if they do not effectively communicate their research findings.
AMR is the next big health crisis, especially in developing nations where AMR awareness and stewardship efforts are limited. Through interactions with school students and the larger public, I would like to help them understand their role in curbing AMR. On the principles of ‘seeing is believing’, visits of students will be arranged to AMR laboratory at Centre for One Health, GADVASU, to demonstrate to them the pathogens, their growth in laboratory conditions, how they acquire antibiotic resistance, and AMR testing methods. Moreover, we have also developed an awareness mobile application and AMR information booklet that will be further refined and used to improve public understanding of this public health problem.
Combine arts with science, dialogue with deliberations, fun with active learning, and that is what I call effective engagement! I started my journey in the field of science engagement with an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh. 5 years down the lane, my goal today is to fill existing gaps in accessibility and inclusion. Gaining valuable experiences in Scotland and India, I have worked for science festivals, schools, research institutes, science centres, television, and radio. Hailing from a small city, I have big dreams to build sustainable and affordable platforms for health and science communication.
Good hygiene practices and knowledge on the correct usage of medicines should be a part of continuous learning. This fellowship gives me a chance to instil critical thinking and effective decision-making skills while sharing the science around pathogens and antimicrobials. I am keen to develop engaging workshops for children in my hometown, where such opportunities are rare. Using active learning, creative arts, and immersive dialogues, I want to empower young minds to be the ambassadors for AMR awareness in their communities. AMR is a challenging problem. Through SAS fellowships, I want to be an active part of the solution.