News-CRUX-10     4th September 2023        

Context: African nations have endorsed a regional strategy to accelerate action against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The strategy was adopted at the 73rd session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa in Botswana’s capital Gaborone.

Key Points

  • WHO member states had adopted the Global Action Plan on AMR in 2015, and had committed to develop, implement, and monitor antimicrobial resistance national action plans (AMR NAPs).

oThe strategy endorsed in Gaborone aims to accelerate the implementation of AMR NAPs.

  • Addressing AMR is integral to achieving the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 according to WHO. 

oFor example, AMR increases treatment costs. This means attaining universal health coverage will become more challenging.

  • AMR could kill 4.1 million people across Africa by 2050 unless serious actions to address the threat are taken, WHO has warned.

Antimicrobial Resistance

  • About: It refers to the acquired resistance of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites etc, to the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs utilized for infection treatment. In this, microorganisms evolve over time, rendering them unresponsive to medications. This, in turn, complicates the treatment of infections, elevates the likelihood of disease transmission, and raises the potential for severe illness and mortality.
  • Causes: Injudicious use of antibiotic, self-medication, industry pollution, untreated disposal of sewage water bodies, etc.

India’s efforts against AMR

  • The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017-21) highlighted the government's success in promoting hand hygiene and sanitation through initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Kayakalp, and Swachh Swasth Sarvatra.
  • The 2017 National Health Policy provided clear directives on antibiotic usage, restricting over-the-counter access and curbing antibiotic use for livestock growth promotion.
  • Red Line awareness campaign: Urging people not to use medicines marked with a red vertical line, including antibiotics, without a doctor’s prescription.