Joint questions with Dr. Jacques De Haller
Interviewer: Michaella Alexandrou
Interviewee: Dr Jacques De Haller, President of CPME (Standing Committee of European Doctors)
What is the power of your organization to influence decision making at national, European and international level?
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CPME represents national medical associations across Europe and is committed to contributing the medical profession’s point of view to EU institutions (European Commission, EU council and European Parliament) and European policy-making through pro-active cooperation on a wide range of health and healthcare related issues. In addition CPME collaborate with the World Medical Association (WMA) at national level. Finally, CPME also provides support to its members at national level on a case by case basis when they require our support.
Can you tell us more about the Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, launched in September?
The new Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and HealthCare‐Associated
Infections (EU‐JAMRAI) is coordinated by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) with the support of the French Ministry of Health.
The JA aims to bring together the participating EU member states, international organizations and universities to contribute to tackle AMR and HCAI, and will capitalize on existing initiatives and propose concrete steps to reduce the burden of AMR.
This collaboration will strive to foster behavioral change at individual and community level and tackle this pressing issue within a “One Health” approach, considering the prevention and control of AMR in humans, animals and environment.
Stakeholders, such as representatives from health professionals, patients and industry, will also be involved in this joint action through a stakeholder forum.
My country, Greece, is one of the countries with the highest levels of antibiotic use. Why are some countries in Europe more affected than others?
In some cultures people find it very necessary to take antibiotics to be treated and to be taken seriously. If the doctor does not give them antibiotics, they feel offended. One remarkable campaign I remember was in France and this country had the same problem as Greece. There was a really good television campaign «Les antibiotiques, c’est pas automatique» (Antibiotics are not automatic) and I think that it was so remarkable that people still remember.
What is your advice for medical students’ organizations to address the issue of AMR?
I think it is most effective when groups are challenged by their own members. I mean, if doctors speak to patients or if they speak to students, they can be felt as paternalistic. If students speak to patients, they are not experienced. So, if patients’ organisations speak to patients and if doctors speak to their colleagues knowing what they feel, think and how they reflect about it, the communication can be more efficient. So I wish students to address this issue themselves too, and confront their own colleagues.
What are the greatest obstacles when it comes to communication about AMR?
Nowadays it is very important to speak based on facts, because as we all see, there is a tendency to just ignore facts. We have kids dying of measles in Europe in the 21st century, because people just don’t believe the fact that vaccination is important. Some people do not believe scientific facts, but other false statements that can be found in the media. People against vaccination say that kids have to be ill and it’s better for their immune system and they are strong enough. If you have for example stairs in your house and you just take of the barrier at the top, the kids fall off the stairs. It is the same with the people who are against vaccination. You let them take unnecessary risks. We have to be serious about facts. We, Doctors are scientific people and we speak about facts and these facts need to be communicated in a way to be taken seriously by the public.
The interview was made at the Autumn Assembly’17 Budapest.