There is a need to curtail the misuse of antibiotics, environmental activists deliberated during a meeting of several state representatives developing an action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a disease which makes consumers immune to antibiotics.”We need to get our act together to stop the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. The experts at the meeting have shown how we can do this. We have a road map for Kerala under which antibiotics used for growth promotion and disease prevention could be phased-out in 3-5 years.”
“We can also stop the use of antibiotics in animal feed and ban last-resort antibiotics like Colistin immediately. If Kerala can do it, so can other states,” said Chandra Bhushan, the deputy director of environment think tank CSE, at a meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram with several states represented by their various departments.
The meeting saw participation from states including Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi to deliberate on fighting AMR and formulating an action plan for it. So far, Kerala is the only state which in October 2018 released its plan – ‘Kerala Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan’, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said.
The deliberations were held at a two-day national workshop which was jointly-organised by the CSE, based in New Delhi, and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Kerala. It saw participation from various state departments such as of health, animal husbandry, fisheries, food, drug, agriculture and pollution control. Antimicrobial resistance or AMR is a global public health crisis which apart from huge health and economic losses to individuals and nations, is expected to impact the attainment of several sustainable development goals, a statement released by CSE said.”As a result of growing AMR, the world is running out of antibiotics as they are becoming ineffective. Infectious diseases are getting difficult to treat or untreatable.
“There are no new antibiotics in the market and those used as a last-resort are also failing. AMR is known to accelerate due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human health, food-animal production and agriculture along with inadequate waste management from households, farms, factories and health care settings,” it said.
States have a critical role in India’s fight against AMR as they know the ground realities and are responsible for managing human health, animal husbandry and environment. What they need is a comprehensive and implementable action plan on AMR, Bhushan said. Speaking at the meeting, Rajan Khobragade, the principal secretary at the department of health and family welfare, Kerala, said,
“Kerala’s action plan includes all necessary aspects to contain AMR. We are happy that we could share our learning with other states through this important workshop.”Another CSE member said the state action plans should aim to curtail antibiotic misuse in human health.”Efforts to contain AMR will only succeed if they are multi-sectoral.
The plans should aim to limit antibiotic misuse in human health and food animals and ensure adequate waste management from households, farms, factories and health care settings,” said Amit Khurana, programme director, food safety and toxins, CSE.
The experts deliberated upon the need to check antibiotic prescription practices and over-the-counter availability of antibiotics and also discussed the significance of limiting antibiotic use as growth promoters and disease prevention as well preserving critically important antibiotics for humans, apart from focusing on addressing waste and working towards integrated AMR surveillance, the CSE said.