Fifth-year Pharmacy student in the College of Health Sciences, Daniel Waruingi has been declared the winner of the Students’ Innovation Project of the Year at the just concluded Annual Quality Healthcare Kenya Awards (QHKA).
The award is in recognition of his innovative programe dubbed; The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Ambassadors for Young People in Africa, which he is currently implementing across 11 African countries.
Waruingi received his award at a ceremony held in Nairobi on April 15, 2023.
Organized by Zawadi Brand Solutions in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and AMREF Health Africa, the QHKA awards aim to honor excellence and celebrate innovation and positive contributions by individuals and organizations in the healthcare sector.
Waruingi’s project which benefited from a grant from the Foundation to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance, a Sweden-based public health organization, seeks to capacitate tertiary-level students with knowledge and skills to address pressing public health burdens such as anti-microbial resistance through initiatives, projects, and start-ups. The program is a hybrid of virtual and physical grassroots engagement.
The Pharmacy student has been engaged in AMR work for the past four years since he co-founded Students against Superbugs Africa, an organization that empowers tertiary-level students and early career professionals to be active advocates in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance.
The organization has initiated multiple projects in collaboration with other partners, impacting many tertiary-level students in Kenya and across the continent.
Waruingi serves as the head of programs in the organization on a part-time basis. He says, he was inspired to take action against AMR after hearing a story from his genetics lecturer about the dire negative outcomes of AMR in urban informal settlements.
He plans to initiate more AMR programs within the organization after completing his undergraduate studies.
“Apart from rolling out more AMR programs, I also intend to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy and health systems strengthening to support holistic efforts in the fight against AMR within the African continent,” said Waruingi.
He expressed his gratitude to a network of supporters who he said, have had a big impact in his research and development.
“I acknowledge my mentors, my team, advisors at the organization, the AMR advocates engaged in our programs, and the School of Pharmacy for the overwhelming support,” said Waruingi.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global health threat listed among the top 10 by the World Health Organization. AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.
According to a study published in 2022, an estimated 1.27 million people died in 2019 as a result of the scourge, more than the combined annual deaths of malaria and HIV/AIDS that year.