As serious as the current health and economic crisis is, COVID-19 may just be the harbinger of future crises. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.
What is antimicrobial resistance?
- Simply put, it is the phenomenon by which bacteria and fungi evolve and become resistant to presently available medical treatment.
- Antimicrobial Resistance (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.
Complex challenges for AMR
- misuse of antimicrobials in medicine
- inappropriate use in agriculture
- contamination around pharmaceutical manufacturing sites where untreated waste releases large amounts of active antimicrobials into the environment
Important steps taken by GOI
- National Action Plan on AMR (NAP-AMR): Government of India (GoI) adopted the National Action Plan on AMR (NAP-AMR) in 2017.
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)
- Key surveillance body: National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)
- Standards for antibiotic residues: In January 2020, when the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) published draft standards for antibiotic residues in pharmaceutical industry effluents under the proposed Environmental (Protection) Amendment Rules 2019.