As per recent study, it has been found that high levels of β-lactam-resistant bacteria and genes generated from Pharma industry are responsible for growing antimicrobial resistance. Discuss the measures taken by government under its 2017 National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance, to control the problem.

Published: November 19, 2017

It has been observed that the effluents from pharmaceutical companies containing high concentrations of antibiotics are being dumped into the lakes and sewers, thus making them breeding grounds of drug-resistant superbugs. One such instance is the Kazipally industrial area of Hyderabad which is an open well, about 20 feet across wherein industrial effluents containing toxins are dumped. Though it is said that the wastes are treated before being released into water but the process is not leak-proof and when these antibiotics come in contact with pathogenic bacteria they learn to resist the former, thus making human infections by these pathogens incurable. In the present time Antibiotic resistance has become the biggest threat to global health. The main cause of such resistance is the overuse of these drugs that is, when people take antibiotics frequently even for a viral flu, then, the bacteria in their body learns to tolerate these drugs by acquiring resistance genes.
In order to deal with the worsening health situation, India has finalised its National Action Plan to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR), under the plan of “One Health Approach”. The plan calls for surveillance of antibiotic use in humans, animals and environment. It aims at improving awareness and understanding of AMR with the help of effective communication, education and training. It stresses on optimum use of antimicrobial agents in health, animals and food. The plan also focusses on strengthening microbiology laboratory capacity for AMR surveillance in human, animal, food and environment sectors. Another important thing is that the plan also talks about reducing the incidences of infection through effective infection prevention and control policies and strategies for example including hand hygiene and sanitation as components of different schemes or quality programmes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Kayakalp and Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiatives and various other plans similar to it. Though the cost of antibiotic resistance will be very high for both the country and the world but it should not be forgotten that in comparison with the cost of better pollution-control, it isn’t that high and can still make the health condition better.

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