Buenos Aires, November 30, 2022 (PAHO/WHO) - It was 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, and the thermometer already read 25 degrees in the Argentine capital. Summer wanted to make an early appearance at the Youth Olympic Park, where more than 2,000 people came to participate in the "Let's Prevent Antibiotic Resistance" race. Groups of runners, families, and friends braved the heat to take part in the 9-kilometer competitive race and the 3-kilometer participatory walk.
"We're racing against antimicrobial resistance!" the announcer declared, inviting the audience to participate in the event while calling for awareness of a growing and complex global health issue. "All of us can do something to stop antibiotic resistance. The massive use of antibiotics without a prescription or unnecessary use has contributed to the spread of this phenomenon worldwide," he added.
The race was part of the activities for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, held each year from November 18 to 24. It was organized by PAHO Argentina and the Ministries of Health and Tourism and Sports of the Nation.
From the stage, Eva Jané Llopis, PAHO representative in Argentina, said: "It's crucial that we don't self-medicate and that we follow the treatment as prescribed by our doctor. Events like this race are an opportunity to raise awareness of this global threat." She also took the opportunity to recognize the country's efforts to promote the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance. "This law is a pioneer in the region, and we're sharing it with all countries."
Walter Seminara, the runner who finished first in the men's 9-kilometer category, thanked the race organizers not only for promoting a healthy activity among citizens but also for doing so in the name of an issue that is a global threat. Adriana Bravo, who was first in the women's category, did the same. "We came to run, and it's always good to publicize something related to a healthy lifestyle. In this case, promoting responsible use of antibiotics."
Laura Barcelona, coordinator of the Program for Appropriate Use of Antimicrobials at the Ministry of Health of the Nation, highlighted the event. "What we're doing from our ministry, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and in collaboration with the invaluable support of PAHO, serves to raise awareness of a topic that isn't easy to publicize, to get closer to people, and to enable each of us to act more responsibly regarding antimicrobials."
Juan Manuel Castelli, the undersecretary of Health Strategies at the Ministry of Health of the Nation, also participated in the event. "Together with the PAHO, we understand the need to put a health issue on the agenda, not only regionally but also globally. This is due to the unprecedented growth of antimicrobial resistance and the difficulties arising from the limitations of an essential resource for treating severe infections. All of this is within the framework not only of human health but also of animal and environmental health, that is, from the perspective of One Health."
In its booth, PAHO promoted education, awareness, and communication on antimicrobial resistance. There were games for children, as well as magicians and clowns who enlivened the Sunday event. The area's technicians were also distributing materials, clarifying doubts about the issue, and promoting the importance of vaccination as another key measure to prevent diseases