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India plans to strengthen network of antimicrobial resistance surveillance

By, New Delhi
Nov 28, 2022 12:38 AM IST

Union minister of state for health, Bharati Pravin Pawar, while presenting India’s national statement on combating AMR at the Third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance recently said that India was prioritising development and implementation of state action plans for containment of AMR across sectors

India plans to strengthen its network of antimicrobial resistance surveillance labs that it set up to monitor the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) situation in the country, according to people familiar with the matter.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics – whether taking them when they are not required; taking an incomplete course; or taking them too regularly – makes bacterial infections immune to antibiotics, experts have said. (Representative image/AP Archive)
Inappropriate use of antibiotics – whether taking them when they are not required; taking an incomplete course; or taking them too regularly – makes bacterial infections immune to antibiotics, experts have said. (Representative image/AP Archive)

“With the increasing incidence of antimicrobial resistance cases being reported from clinical establishments not just globally but also domestically, it is time to take the national AMR action plan to the state level for effective implementation of the plan and control the growing epidemic of AMR,” said a central government official, requesting anonymity.

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Inappropriate use of antibiotics – whether taking them when they are not required; taking an incomplete course; or taking them too regularly – makes bacterial infections immune to antibiotics.

Union minister of state for health, Bharati Pravin Pawar, while presenting India’s national statement on combating AMR at the Third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance recently said that India was prioritising development and implementation of state action plans for containment of AMR across sectors.

“India’s National Action Plan for containment of AMR focuses on an integrated One Health approach and involves coordination at the state, national and international levels,” she said.

In its National Health Policy 2017, India has identified managing AMR a key priority and since then the health ministry has taken several initiatives to nip the epidemic that is growing fast globally.

In a Lancet study released in January, researchers said an estimated 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria.

The estimates for 204 countries and territories confirm AMR as a global health threat, with worst impacts in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), though higher income countries also face alarmingly high levels of AMR.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been supporting research on antimicrobial resistance through the Antimicrobial Resistance Research & Surveillance Network (AMRSN) since 2013. The data collected from the network has enabled compilation of drug resistance data on six pathogenic groups on AMR.

Data collected from the network is used to track resistance trends and to better understand mechanisms of resistance in the key priority pathogens using genomics and whole genome sequencing.

Resistance to carbapenems — drugs administered to treat common infections such as pneumonia in intensive care unit settings — increased in 2021, limiting the availability of treatment options, according to an ICMR observation.

There are 20 regional laboratories from tertiary care hospitals in India to provide data and fix the number of isolates for each pathogenic group.

Experts have been laying emphasis on scaling up initiatives to tackle AMR.

ICMR on Saturday also released a revised set of guidelines for antibiotics use.

“Rampant use of antibiotics is a huge problem and resistance to some of the most common drugs is the biggest reasons why we lose patients in icu. The misuse of these life saving drugs is even more rampant in smaller cities and towns,” said Dr Yatin Mehta, chairman, institute of critical care and anaesthesiology, Medanta-The Medicity, Gurugram.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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