Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham recently organized a two-day International Hybrid Conference, ALARM 2023, focusing on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The event was inaugurated by Swami Shubhamritananda Puri, Director of Mata AmritanandamayiCenter, Europe. Distinguished speakers included Dr. Kamini Walia (Program Officer for AMR, ICMR), Dr. Sabu Thomas (Nodal Officer for AMR, Government of Kerala), Dr.Taslimarif Saiyed (CEO and Director, C-CAMP), Dr. Sanjeev Singh (Director, Amrita Hospitals, Faridabad), Dr. Ranga Reddy Burri (President, Infection Control Academy of India), and Dr. Bipin Nair (Dean, Amrita School of Biotechnology).
Prominent figures like Dr. Dwayne Roach (Assistant Professor of Biology, San Diego State University, USA) and Dr. Sandeep Verma (Former Secretary, DST-SERB, and Professor, IIT Kanpur) shared their insights during the event.
As part of ALARM 2023, an AMR Awareness campaign targeted school students from diverse age groups. The campaign featured two segments where students from the 9th to 12th standards in one group, where they were given an understanding on the significance of AMR, its impact, and preventive measures. This educational initiative was facilitated through presentations and interactive sessions.
The second group targeted younger children, specifically those in the 5th grade and below. This included fundamental AMR awareness coupled with the importance of safe and effective handwashing techniques in disease prevention. The emphasis was placed on making the kids understand how seemingly minor practices could significantly contribute to averting illnesses. Moreover, all participating students received knowledge on the importance of judicious use of antibiotics and other medications, emphasizing the necessity of doctor consultation, adherence to prescribed dosages, and completing the course of medication as directed.
To enhance the interactive nature of the campaign, an AI-powered social robot named HAKSH-E, developed by Ammachi Lab at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, was introduced to younger classes. HAKSH-E elicited an enthusiastic response, fostering engagement and aiding in knowledge transfer.
A round table discussion featured experts such as Dr. Sanjay Pal (Associate Professor, PI of Sanitation Biotechnology Lab), Dr. Geetha Kumar (Professor, PI of AMR Lab), Dr. Krishnakumar R (Head of Department and Professor, Department of Paediatric Cardiology, School of Medicine, AIMS), and Dr. Dipu TS (Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Dept. Of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, AIMS).
The initiative spanned 20 schools, including government and CBSE/Management schools, benefitting approximately 2500 students with valuable insights into combating AMR and promoting responsible healthcare practices.
The ALARM 2023 conference not only united experts to address AMR but also exemplified a commitment to proactive education. The tailored AMR Awareness campaign, including an innovative AI-powered social robot, HAKSH-E, showcased the university’s dedication to instilling responsible healthcare practices from an early age. With an impact spanning multiple schools and reaching thousands of students, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham continues to lead in addressing global challenges through academic excellence, technological innovation, and community engagement.