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Business News/ News / India/  Govt moves against anti-microbial resistance, a killer
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Govt moves against anti-microbial resistance, a killer

The ministry has formed a high-level committee to develop a National Action Plan Anti-Microbial Resistance 2.0.

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NEW DELHI : The Union health ministry is working on a national plan to combat anti-microbial resistance (AMR) that is becoming a public health threat, a government official aware of the matter said. The ministry has formed a high-level committee to develop a National Action Plan Anti-Microbial Resistance 2.0 (NAP AMR), the official said on condition of anonymity.

AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses and fungi become immune to medication over time, making it harder to treat ailments. Both humans and animals can develop AMR.

“Addressing AMR in the context of food safety requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach that encompasses responsible antimicrobial use, good agricultural and manufacturing practices, surveillance systems, research and innovation, and international cooperation," the official cited above said.

The committee, called the Inter-Sectoral Coordination Committee on AMR (ISCC-AMR), includes officials from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), ministries of animal husbandry and fisheries, food processing, forest and climate change and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization to create the action plan.

Queries sent to a health ministry spokesperson remained answered.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist at the World Health Organization, said AMR has increased in the last 2-3 years of the covid pandemic due to widespread and irrational use of antibiotics.

“During every covid wave, there was always a tendency to use antibiotics, even though we know that antibiotics do not work on viral infections," she said. India carries one of the largest burdens of drug-resistant pathogens worldwide including the highest burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. A paper published in medical journal PudMed states that around two million deaths are projected to occur in India due to AMR by 2050.

India is also known for widespread and indiscriminate use of anti-biotics, which were routinely prescribed during the covid-19 pandemic.

According to Lancet, AMR directly caused 1.27 million deaths worldwide in 2019. As per reports, neonatal and elderly deaths are the highest in India due to AMR.

The Union government has identified AMR as a key priority in its National Health Policy, 2017 and it is one of the important areas of discussion for the G20 Health Working Group.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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Published: 19 Jul 2023, 09:42 PM IST
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