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The Increasing Threat Of Antimicrobial Puzzle

Context:

The increasing threat of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a silent menace in our rapidly advancing world of medicine. As the effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs diminishes, we face a serious challenge to our health and well-being. It’s essential to recognize the seriousness of this issue and take collective action.

Relevance:

  • GS2- Health
  • GS3- Science and Technology

Mains Question:

Antimicrobial Resistance offers significant challenges for India and the world. Highlighting the various causes of antimicrobial Resistance, suggest a way forward strategy needed to deal with it. (15 marks, 250 words).

Causes of AMR:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance, or AMR, occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve to resist the drugs designed to combat them. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals, inadequate infection prevention, and the absence of clean water and sanitation all contribute to the alarming rise of AMR.
  • India, with a significant burden of infectious diseases, ranks second in global antibiotic consumption, showing a 47% increase from 2010 to 2020. The improper use and overuse of antibiotics play a crucial role in driving the emergence of AMR.
  • The easy availability of antibiotics without a prescription and self-medication by patients contribute to this worrisome trend. Antibiotics differ from other drugs as their misuse affects not only individual health but also significantly contributes to the global threat of AMR, impacting public health and society as a whole.
  • The overuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry, aquaculture, and agriculture exacerbates the problem.

Addressing AMR:

  • Active involvement of patients and the public is essential for responsible antibiotic use, promoting awareness, preventive measures, and efficient healthcare practices.
  • Coordinated efforts across humans, animals, and the environment are necessary.
  • Public support for responsible farming, advocacy for policies, proper food handling, sustainable practices, and awareness can help reduce antimicrobial usage.
  • Public awareness plays a crucial role in this fight. Informed individuals, communities, and healthcare providers can make informed choices, promoting responsible antibiotic use.
  • Campaigns like the DSPRUD school initiatives, supported by WHO, the Delhi Government, and ECHO India, have been instrumental in this effort. These campaigns educate and empower communities and cultivate a generation that understands the significance of responsible antimicrobial use.
  • This is a collective responsibility, involving communities, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and individuals. Proper antibiotic use, adherence to healthcare guidance, and advocating for responsible practices in agriculture and pharmaceutical industries are essential steps.

The Urgency to Act:

  • As we move into a post-antibiotic era, there is reason for concern. AMR does not discriminate and transcends borders. It affects people of all ages in any country.
  • With the ongoing increase in AMR, the number of effective antibiotics is diminishing.
  • Without urgent attention to AMR, we may face a post-antibiotic era where even minor infections that were treatable with antibiotics become life-threatening, resulting in prolonged illness, higher healthcare costs, and increased risks of spreading diseases.

Conclusion:

Looking forward, in a world where antibiotic misuse threatens global health security, the World Health Organisations’s World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) with the theme ‘Empowering Communities, Promoting Responsible Use offers a unique opportunity for individuals, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities to unite in preserving the efficacy of antimicrobial drugs. By embracing the theme of community empowerment and responsible use, there is a need to work together to ensure the continued effectiveness of antimicrobials, creating a healthier and safer world for future generations.


April 2024
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