Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR): a global threat

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    In News 

    A rising trend of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been observed among patients at an Ahmedabad hospital.

    About Antimicrobial resistance (AMR

    • It is often also called antibiotic resistance.
    • It 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. 
    • They can spread from person to person or between people and animals, including from food of animal origin. 

    Reasons 

    • AMR occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. Antimicrobial-resistant organisms are found in people, animals, food, plants, and the environment (in water, soil, and air). 
    • The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance include the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials; lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals; poor infection and disease prevention and control in healthcare facilities and farms;  poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics; lack of awareness and knowledge; and lack of enforcement of legislation.   

    Concerns

    • It is a global health challenge and a looming public health crisis. 
    • The WHO has declared it as one of the top 10 health threats facing humanity.
    • AMR national action plans (NAPs) have been implemented in several surveyed economies including India for human health.
    • However, the development and implementation of antimicrobial plans for animals and the environment that equally impact AMR hasn’t been adequate.
    • The cost of AMR to the economy is significant and it is critical to develop policies and implement them through a holistic “One Health” approach. 

    Measures Taken to Rising Anti-Microbial Resistance in India 

    • National programme on AMR containment was launched during the 12th FYP in 2012-17
    • National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) focusing on the One Health approach was launched on 19th April 2017 with the aim of involving various stakeholders ministries/departments.
    • AMR Surveillance Network:  ICMR has established the AMR surveillance and research network (AMRSN) in 2013, to generate evidence and capture trends and patterns of drug resistant infections in the country.
    • AMR Research & International Collaboration: ICMR has taken initiatives to develop new drugs /medicines through international collaborations in order to strengthen medical research in AMR.
    • “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.
      • In its National Health Policy 2017, India has identified managing AMR as a key priority and since then the health ministry has taken several initiatives to nip the epidemic that is growing fast globally

    Suggestions 

    • Greater action is required to monitor and control infections, globally, nationally and within individual hospitals. 
    • Access to vaccines, clean water, and sanitation ought to be expanded. 
      • We need to spearhead sanitation drives, ensure a clean water supply and support hospital-driven infection-control programmes. 
    • The use of antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease, such as in food and animal products must be “optimised” and be “more thoughtful” about our use of antimicrobial treatments.
    • Reducing AMR also requires prescribing antimicrobials judiciously and only when they are absolutely needed. 
    • There is also a need for more cohesion within management strategies.
      • Coordination across the animal industry and environmental sectors to prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics in farms — this nurtures drug-resistant organisms in our food supply — is necessary. 
    • Invest heavily in research and development through both government and private funding. 

    Mains Practise Question 

     [Q] Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR) is a growing health crisis, and tackling it needs a multi-pronged approach. Comment