National Workshop on Development of National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance

The WHO Country Office for India in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) organised a two-day National Workshop on Development of National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR), at New Delhi on 8-9 December 2016.

Reflecting the government’s strong commitment to combat the rise in antibiotic resistance, Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General Health Services, MoHFW called for strengthening of regulatory components for antimicrobial availability, use and dispensing. In addition, he suggested four other areas for prioritization in the NAP-AMR: education, awareness and training; infection prevention; effective use of antimicrobial therapy, including formulation of antibiotic policy, and sustainable financing.

The consultation focused on the review of draft National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) and developing the roadmap, with responsible institutions and tentative timelines.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Soumya Swaminanthan, Secretary, Department of Health Research & Director General-Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), highlighted that governance and financing are pre-requisites for the success of NAP. She also outlined the scope of development of newer antimicrobials agents from traditional medicines

In his address, Dr B.D. Athani, Special DGHS, expressed concern about the misuse of antibiotics, especially as prophylactics. He urged that improvements are needed in sterilization and disinfection of equipment, devices and instruments to prevent healthcare associated infections, which are predominantly caused by multi-drug resistant organisms.

In his address, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, emphasized that strong intersectoral collaborations are critical for making an impact. “AMR is a complex issue, for which it is important to work with other sectors – especially agriculture, environment, water and sanitation, education, department of pharmaceuticals, industries, etc. – to ensure that we are able to effectively combat AMR,” he said.

He also urged for awareness among prescribers and general public for use of antibiotics; surveillance through standardized data collection; infection prevention through promotion of hand hygiene; integration of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with infection prevention and control, safe use of medical devices and food safety.

Taking cognizance of AMR as a national priority, the government established three governance mechanisms on AMR in September 2016: i) Intersectoral Coordination Committee on AMR; ii) Technical Advisory Group on AMR; and the iii) Core Working Group on AMR

Approximately 80-100 AMR stakeholders from health, agriculture, food, and other sectors attended the workshop. Also present on the occasion were Mr Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, MoHFW and Dr S Venkatesh, Director, National Centre of Disease Control. The workshop had international representation from the Tripartite; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO’s work in the area of AMR

The World Health Organization is leading a global campaign ‘Antibiotics: Handle with care’ calling on individuals, governments, health and agriculture professionals to take action to address this urgent problem. Working together, we can ensure antibiotics are used only when necessary and as prescribed. Antibiotics are a precious resource that we cannot continue to take for granted—we need to handle them with care.

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