Antimicrobial resistance has been recognized as a ‘silent epidemic’. A report by the Center for Science and Environment to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week noted that antimicrobial resistance is a ‘silent epidemic’ and is a global public health threat.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week was observed globally from 18-24 November. It aims to create awareness and understanding on the issue of antimicrobial drugs by humans and animals. Its theme is Stopping Antimicrobial Resistance Together, which highlights the importance of strengthening preventive measures to address AMR by working together through a ‘one health’ approach.
The report raised concerns over the increasing use of antibiotics, making infectious diseases more difficult to treat. According to one study, in 2019, around 4.95 million deaths worldwide were linked to the bacteria AMR, and 1.95 million deaths were directly attributable to the bacteria AMR.
Apart from health, AMR is also likely to have a huge impact on livelihoods and the economy. Waste from farms, factories, the community, and health care settings contributes to the emergence and spread of AMR through environmental routes.
Prevention refers to the adoption of strategies and approaches that can reduce the need for antimicrobials. For example, in the human health sector, improved sanitation, access to clean water and proper hand hygiene can reduce the likelihood of infection and the need for antimicrobials.
The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is also going to promote Ethnoveterinary Medicine (EVM) for the treatment of animals. Ethnoveterinary medicine (EVM) involves the use of traditional/herbal preparations in the treatment of diseases of cattle.
Antimicrobial resistance is the acquired resistance by any microorganism (bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs that are used to treat infections.
It occurs when a microorganism changes over time and no longer responds to drugs, making the infection harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified AMR as one of the top ten threats to global health.
The rise of AMR has proved to be a major challenge in the treatment of sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition and unfortunately, leading to preventable deaths from the failure of antibiotics.
AMR has been undermining and undoing medical progress for decades, especially for high-burden diseases such as tuberculosis and various cancers.
Untreated wastewater from medical facilities is filled with chemical compounds that promote superbugs. Self-medication and over the counter (OTC) antibiotic availability has led to one of the highest rates of antibiotic resistance in the world.
National Program on AMR Prevention was launched in 2012. Under this programme, the AMR surveillance network has been strengthened by establishing a laboratory in the Government Medical College.
Antibiotic Stewardship Program ICMR has launched Antibiotic Stewardship Program (AMSP) on a pilot project across India to control the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in hospital wards and ICUs.
( DIRECTOR – OJAANK IAS )