Antimicrobial Resistance

News: Government of India has given due cognizance to the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has initiated various activities for containment of AMR.

Steps taken by govt. to prevent and control AMR:
  • National Action Plan for containment of Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) was launched on 19thApril, 2017, involving stakeholders from various ministries / sectors.
  • National Programme on Containment of AMR was initiated during the 12thFive Year Plan.  National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) coordinates this programme.  Under the programme National AMR surveillance network of state medical colleges, labs(NARS-Net) have been established in order to generate quality data on AMR for seven priority bacterial pathogens of public health importance using WHONET software.
  • National Guidelines on Infection, Prevention and Control in Healthcare facilities were released in Jan, 2020. These guidelines have been shared with various stakeholders across the country to be used in training modules for country-wide trainings in a systematic manner.
  • Under the programme, NCDC conducts AMR surveillance through a network of 30 state medical college laboratories in 25 states. The network is expanded across the country in a phased manner.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) coordinates another AMR surveillance network of 20 laboratories located in tertiary care centres (both public and private) in the country.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship (AMSP) activities: In order to promote rational use of antibiotics among the healthcare providers, a series of sensitization and training workshops have been organized in different healthcare facilities in the country for the benefit of the practicing clinicians. Standard treatment guidelines developed by NCDC for rational use of antibiotics have been made available to clinicians across the country.
  • To create awareness among the public about AMR, various IEC activities like quiz competition in schools, participation in Perfect Health Mela, poster & quiz competition for healthcare workers at NCDC and the sites included in the NARS-Net during World Antibiotic awareness each year have been conducted to raise awareness about AMR. IEC material (audio /video /Print OD Media) to raise awareness about AMR and to prevent misuse of antibiotics has been made available on the website of NCDC for use by the States-UT governments and other stakeholders.

What is the Antimicrobial Resistance?

  • Antimicrobial Resistance happens when microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials.
  • Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
  • With 7 lakh people losing the battle to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) per year and another 10 Million projected to die from it by 2050, AMR alone is killing more people than cancer and road traffic accidents combined.
  • Economic projections suggest that by 2050, AMR would decrease Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2 – 3.5 % with a fall in livestock by 3 % to 8 % costing USD 100 Trillion to the entire globe.
  • India is facing the challenges of combating diseases like Tuberculosis, Cholera, Malaria which are becoming more and more drug-resistant; on the other hand, the emergence of newer multi-drug resistant organisms pose newer diagnostic and therapeutic challenges.
  • Lower awareness about infectious diseases and inaccessibility to healthcare often prevents people from seeking medical help.