Delhi has become the third State in the country, after Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, to develop an action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) menace. A global public threat, AMR primarily caused by indiscriminate usage of antibiotics could kill nearly 10 million people by 2050 up from current 70,000 people.
As per the WHO, AMR is the “resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for the treatment of infections caused by it”.
To take the AMR head on, the Delhi Government on January 3, 2020 launched the State Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance (SAPCAR), focusing on a ‘One Health’ approach through six key strategic priority areas and multi-sectoral involvement.
The State plans follows National Action Plan (NAP) on antibiotic resistance framed by the Union health Ministry in 2017, on the lines of the WHO’s global action plan.
Speaking at an event here during the launch of the SAPCAR , Dr Sujeet Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that the move will help combat the AMR threat while Dr Sunil Gupta, MS Safdarjung Hospital emphasised the need for strengthening and expanding the regulatory mechanisms for production, sale and use of antibiotics.
Echoing similar views, Dr Ravindra Aggarwal, additional MS Lok Nayak Hospital and Chief coordinator AMR, outlined the evolution and development of SAPCAR and the way forward. Six Strategic priorities along with key focus areas have been identified for overall coordination and surveillance, research, infection prevention and control, antimicrobial stewardship for AMR containment. SAP-CARD in addition, has included monitoring and evaluation indicators to check the implementation of SAP-CARD and reduction in AMR.
Dr Sangeeta Sharma, nodal officer AMR and President DSPRUD, shared the “Antibiotic Awareness Campaign in School Children” organized in collaboration with the Delhi Government’s School Health Programme to make Delhi’s youth aware about AMR.
Later, she said that Delhi, being the transit point for various agricultural and animal husbandry products besides pharmaceuticals face different kind of AMR threat. Moreover, major reason for emergence of antibiotic resistance is inappropriate use of antibiotics by healthcare practitioners with over the counter sale of antibiotics and poor regulatory mechanisms. Also, antibiotics are also being misused in agriculture leading to supply of antibiotic-laden foods. The poor handling of sewage waste in treatment plant, domestic waste, disposal of pharmaceutical products are other major issues that need concerted and collaborative efforts across various departments.
Though AMR in India came into limelight way back in 2010 with the discovery of superbugs harbouring New Delhi metallo-lactamase (NDM-1) gene, igniting much needed discussion and action on AMR at the global and national level, so far only three States, (Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi ) in India have come forward with the AMR containment plan. The WHO warns that the economic losses could be devastating, estimated to be about $100 trillion in total by 2050. AMR could push 2.4 crore people into extreme poverty by 2030, it said.