UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | 03 March 2022

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What’s the article is about?

The article is about the Anti-Microbial Resistance(AMR) that has been rising and becoming a threat.

Syllabus: GS2 Issues relating to health.

What is AMR?

Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs that are used to treat infections. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

Data:

  • GRAM report findings:
    • AMR is a leading cause of death globally, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.
    • As many as 4.95 million deaths may be associated with bacterial AMR in 2019.
    • Lower respiratory tract infections accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most common infectious syndrome.
  • As per WHO, AMR accounted for  1.6 million deaths every year since 2019.

  • It is estimated that 10 million AMR deaths could occur by 2050.

Reasons for increasing AMR:

  • Antibiotic consumption in humans: Unnecessary and injudicious use of antibiotics will lead to AMR bacteria.
  • Easy availability of antibiotics along with the culture of self-medication leads to an increase in AMR.
  • Cultural Activities: Mass bathing in rivers as part of religious mass gathering occasions.
  • Agricultural use: Using antibiotics to increase productivity in farm animals can promote drug resistance. 
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Pollution: The untreated wastewater effluents from the antibiotic manufacturing units releasing into the environment.
  • No new vaccines and antimicrobial developments: No new classes of antibiotics have made it to the market in the last three decades. 
  • Poor hygiene and sanitation: Poor WASH leads to the spread of infectious diseases, which leads to increased use of antibiotics, increasing chances of AMR.

Measures taken:

  • UNEP identified antimicrobial resistance as one of six emerging issues of environmental concern in its 2017 Frontiers Report.
  • GAP: UN agencies are working together to develop the One Health AMR Global Action Plan (GAP) that addresses the issue in human, animal, and plant health.
  • WHO’s Glass portal to ensure information and data collection about AMR.
  • India's Red Line campaign demands that prescription-only antibiotics be marked with a red line, to discourage the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.
  • National Action Plan on AMR resistance 2017-2021 was formulated to tackle AMR.

Measures needed:

Controlling AMR needs is the multi-stakeholder approach.

  • At the individual level, creating awareness among the public and only using antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Hospitals should improve their infection control by better diagnostics and laboratories and explaining to patients about health issues.
  • Proper funding and research of new drugs should be developed and also promote judicial use of drugs by patients.
  • Policymakers should ensure a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance is in place. Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • The agricultural sector only gives antibiotics to animals under veterinary supervision and not to use as a growth promoter.

WHO has defined AMR as a shadow pandemic hence need is a collaborative effort in combating the potential threats. In order to ensure health for all and fulfill SDG 3



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