Rio Praaning Prawira Adiningrat
Several biopsies following the development of cancer cells accidentally contaminated my blood with what appeared to be resistant bacteria from my gut. After a final biopsy I developed very high fevers at home and when found by my wife after a day I was sped back to the hospital at the advice of my physician who considered I was struck by sepsis. The hospital confirmed this but was unable to combat the sepsis; the bacteria were 'unknown' and none of the usual antibiotics appeared to be effective. I was given another apparently 'not usual' antibiotic after my fever reached record highs and lows. The hospital wanted to keep me in 'quarantine' for several weeks but a couple of days after the crisis I appeared to be 'clean' and escaped.
In 2004 I started the PA International Foundation to address three securities: Water, Food and Jobs. Solutions to (global) problems usually include any one or any combination of these. AMR is well within this scope. On my way into this mess I found that virtually all authorities were, deliberately or not, underestimating the AMR threat. I tracked strong lobbies of some industries pushing, for instance, DG SANTE - primarily responsible for public health - to continue to allow veterinarians to benefit of the sales of antibiotics. Interestingly it seems VETERINARIANS in the EU - also at Member State level - appear to decide on HUMAN AMR health issues. I was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of antibiotics used in husbandry - contaminating poultry, pork, shrimp, vegetables (antibiotics sprayed on vegetables) in our food chain and a strong and inexplicable overuse of antibiotics in human health. Hospitals rapidly become places to get sick, not to heal. Nurses - by my own experience the FRONT LINE in identifying AMR and comforting AMR patients that have little chance to survive - still are INSUFFICIENTLY EDUCATED and TRAINED. None of the 1 billion euro allotted to combat AMR was or is for this life saving key group of health professionals.
When similar cases like mine in hospitals were reported to our Foundation, it appeared that hospitals did not wish to confirm or deny; after all, they do not have to report any AMR cases centrally anywhere. Worse: both the ECDC and the European Commission 'forgot' to require hospitals to report each and every case. So if THEY were not worried, why should hospitals and industries be? The European Court of Auditors in November 2019 confirmed that the European Commission spent over 1 billion euro on AMR without much effect. Indeed in May 2019 the ECDC could not escape the truth: AMR is getting out of control: gonorrhoeae bacteria in the EU are becoming totally resistant; hospitals STILL are NOT required to report AMR cases; NOBODY KNOWS how many antibiotics are produced, distributed, sold, used; the European Commission's EU AMR Action Plan is of LESSER CONSEQUENCE than its own SSC Scientific AMR Analysis of 1999.
How did we get into this crisis? How do we get out? Who is responsible for 400.000 AMR deaths in the EU between 1999 and 2017? What action is taken by the NEW European Commission and by the NEW European Parliament? I made peace with my past and future expecting to die not of cancer but of AMR some years ago. Now I am 67, and I will use my energy to help combat AMR - or any other unnecessary cause of death of relatively innocent people. I owe that to still being alive - and to most people in my surroundings. Rio, 5 December 2019