Rwanda tackles antimicrobial resistance through a pharmacy led campaign

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Rwanda

AMR is a growing global issue and internationally much AMR research and innovative work goes on. Following the success of the Innovative pharmacy solution to antimicrobial resistance in the UK by the Information Design and Architecture combating drug resistant infection (IDAPPS) project at University of Reading, there was an opportunity to explore how this approach could be taken to an international community.

A collaboration between the University of Reading, the University of Rwanda, the Rwanda Community Pharmacists Union (RCPU), the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA), Design Science and Isomeric was formed to explore how a design led approach to develop a campaign would change behaviours and attitudes towards AMR in Rwanda.

Pharmacy and health care access in Rwanda

Several workshops in Kigali Rwanda were held to better understand how just over 800 registered pharmacists serve a population of approximately 12.5million and dispense AMR advice. The broader insights of how doctors and community health workers support the community was imperative to ensure any campaign woudl bridge the gap and provide continuity of health care. The project team included designers, behavioural change consultants and pharmacists.

Workshops in Rwanda

The workshops were designed to engage with pharmacist, pharmacy users and other stakeholders. New models that fuelled creativity were introduced at the workshops led by designers and pharmacists. The co-design workshops were practical and interactive and the team came away with many ideas to progress within the context and constraints that were discussed.

Pilot study and pharmacist training

Initial pharmacy materials and a training plan were implemented, during this first phase, across several pharmacies reaching different populations.

Training pharmacists on the campaign materials

The next phase…

Following the success of the pilot phase the project team are developing the materials for a bigger launch reaching a wider population. Analysis of pilot data, other research in Rwanda and a final workshop in the UK has led to more collaborations and new ideas.

Innovative pharmacy solution to antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to a growing number of antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans.  Antibiotics are life saving medicines and changing attitudes and behaviours in AMR is fundamental in preserving the value they bring to our lives. The pharmacy environment provides an excellent opportunity to improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.

Changing attitudes and behaviour in AMR

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Information Design and Architecture combating drug resistant infection (IDAPPS). IDDAPS is an inter-disciplinary project bringing together academics and practitioners in graphic and information design, architecture, ergonomics and human factors and pharmacy to consider how to ‘improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance’.

Designing persuasive pharmacy space

Design Science and partners developed the winning Beat Bad Bugs (BBB) campaign for IDAPPS. The BBB team are life-size characters each offering a perspective on antibiotic usage. This innovative approach also included various materials to support the pharmacy team at Day Lewis Reading branch.

The approach has been developed and tailored for pharmacies in other countries.

Co-design: Understanding different perspectives

Co-design is the approach of actively involving all stakeholders such as end users of the service or product, experts and collaborators in the design process. The purpose of co-design workshops is to discover different perspectives through collaboration and to include user and stakeholder opinions in key decisions.

Co-design – A Case Example of Brussels Sprouts

This short video explains what co-design is, how it works and why it’s important. The video was an entry for the FILM YOUR RESEARCH 2017 Co-design video for Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) competition; the video was among the top 25 among many entries.