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CSR: WHO Steps in To Curb AMR

AMR - Effective Use of Antibiotics

Excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare has led to a rise in antimicrobial resistance across the world. According to WHO, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that render the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. When the microorganisms become resistant to most antimicrobials they are often referred to as “superbugs”.

AMR is a global issue and according to a survey conducted by Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), most countries of the world, Including India have not done well to address it.

According to the survey results, the country has not done well on four out of the 16 parameters analysed. Despite the fact that the problem of AMR persists, there is no effort to train stakeholders such as farmers, farm workers, extension workers, food and feed processors and retailers, and environmental specialists on AMR. India also does not have a national plan or system for monitoring sales and use of antimicrobials in animals and plants.

In an attempt to guide the countries frame a sound policy for addressing AMR, the WHO has launched a global campaign that has urged the countries to adopt its new online tool aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers to use antibiotics safely and more effectively. Its another objective is to limit drugs that are at risk of resistance.

The tool, known as ‘AWaRe’, classifies antibiotics into three groups:

  • Access – antibiotics used to treat the most common and serious infections
  • Watch – antibiotics available at all times in the healthcare system
  • Reserve – antibiotics to be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort

The campaign aims to achieve a 60 per cent increase in the use of antibiotics under the Access group. The drugs in these groups are cheap, ‘narrow-spectrum’ drugs (that target a specific microorganism rather than several) and also lower the risk of resistance. Apart from this, it also aims to reduce the use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance from the Watch and Reserve groups.

According to the British Government’s Review on Anti Microbial Resistance, Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health risks and is estimated to kill 50 million by 2050 worldwide. Steps to curb it must be taken on a priority basis across the world.

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The CSR Journal Team