Oluwatosin T. Ajayi

Course studied: Veterinary Medicine University: Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Country: Nigeria

Studies have established the trasnfer of antibiotic-resistant pathogens between humans, animals and their environment. Knowing how helpful antimicrobials have been in the management of diseases in humans and animals, and the implication of losing this great treasure (antimicrobials) really sparked her passion to engage in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. She is passionate about antimicrobial resistance because, not so many new antimicrobials are being produced, if the available ones lose their effectiveness to resistance, the management of infections (in animals and humans) will become difficult and more lives will be lost to diseases that could have been easily treated if the antimicrobials were not resistant. Also, AMR has a negative impact on the economy, as the financial cost of treating antibiotic-resistant infection is high and also result in prolong hospitalization.

During the last World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (2021), she collaborated with other AMR leaders within and outside Nigeria to organize a virtual lecture where different professionals within and outside Nigeria gave lectures on inter-professional stewardship approach to spread awareness and stop antimicrobial resistance. Through the virtual lecture, youth from different African countries were informed and equipped to join in the fight against AMR. She also headed a team that did online campaign, enlightening the masses about AMR during the same period.
Dr. Ajayi being a Veterinarian, has been enlightening her clients (pet owners and farmers), the livestock farmers especially, letting them know the implication of their actions and decisions, and how they could transfer antibiotic residue and resistant-pathogens to their consumers thereby contributing to AMR. Bringing them to this awareness and encouraging them has led to antimicrobial stewardship and production of livestock that are hygiene, wholesome and safe for human consumption.
She has also been using every available opportunity to create awareness about AMR. Most recently, a cytotechnologist from Uganda invited her on a podcast session where she talked about AMR; the implications on human, animal, and environmental health, and how the youth and African women can contribute to the fight against the pandemic.

One of the main challenge that was faced was funding. This was overcome by engaging in online activities. During the WAAW week, professionals that were equally passionate about the subject of AMR were invited (at no cost), and online campaign was also organized at minimal cost. Also online platforms were utilized for other activities such as social media posts, podcast, etc.

The key takeaway from the activities was the impact of social media on AMR, and how much one can leverage on the platform to reach a wide range of people. Major lessons learnt are, no one is too young or old to be made aware of AMR, has it’s an issue that affect everyone, and everyone have a role to play. Also, it’s incredible how willing and passionate people can be in the fight against this pandemic, once they are brought to the consciousness of it.

Some of the skills and personal qualities acquired during engagement in AMR activities are good leadership skills, project planning and management, interpersonal relationship, public speaking, etc.

Dr. Ajayi has been trying to get a fully-funded scholarship for post graduate study (Master or PhD) in an antimicrobial-related project in any international institution. Support or mentorship in this regard will greatly help in catalyzing her personal growth and development, and further equip and help her make better contribution in the fight against AMR.

Like I usually say “Antimicrobial resistance is not just a problem for some set of people (professionals), all hands must be on deck for the battle against this pandemic to be won”. AMRLEP Program provides a great platform for AMR leaders to be raised. Numerous others aside myself have been equipped by this program, so I’ll encourage all students to enroll as they’ll not just be equipped against AMR, but develop other life skills, and make great connections with youth of like minds.