Sunday, Sep 12, 2021 07:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Sep 12, 2021 02:04 [IST]

Antimicrobial Resistance- the silent pandemic

Dr DECHEN C. TSERING, Professor, Department of Microbiology, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sci

Microbes are the simplest forms of life and the main reason for their survival is their adaptability to the ever changing environment despite the selective pressure exerted by the indiscriminate use of antimicrobial agents. As Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been detected in all parts of the world and currently it is one of the greatest challenges to global public health (WHO). Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) causes an estimated 700,000 deaths annually worldwide, and every country is potentially affected. If not properly addressed, the number could grow to 10 million per year by 2050. Many studies have demonstrated the financial consequences of AMR, including extremely high healthcare costs due to an increase in hospital admissions, longer hospital stays, more intensive care units and isolation beds, and expensive, intensive therapy.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites resist the effects of medications, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. Multiple factors are responsible for antimicrobial resistance-overuse of medicines in humans, livestock, agriculture as well as poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene
Prevention and spread of AMR is essential not only in healthcare facilities but also in the community. Antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistance are inextricably linked and areas with high levels of antibiotic prescribing also have high levels of resistance. As a result, antibiotic stewardship programmes in health care facilities are crucial for the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents. Also, the implementation of infection control measures in health care facilities are equally important. Coordinated efforts to implement new policies, renew research efforts, and pursue steps to manage the crisis are greatly needed.
Ways to slow down AMR as suggested by WHO:
• Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
• Never share or use leftover antibiotics.
• Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
Policy makers
• Ensure a robust national action plan.
• Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
• Regulate and promote the appropriate use and disposal of quality medicines.
• Make information available on the impact of antibiotic resistance.
Healthcare industry
• Invest in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi