Ramesh ShankarWednesday, January 4, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

India has recently called upon the world leaders to collaborate at the international, national and sub-national levels to tackle the development challenge posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as one family. Delivering India’s national statement on combating AMR at the Third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on AMR at Muscat in Oman recently, Union Minister of State for Health, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, urged all governments and partners across the world to come together to combat the burning issue of AMR. Showcasing India’s eagerness to counter this emerging healthcare crisis, the Indian Health Minister stated that the Government of India has identified AMR as a key priority in its National Health Policy, 2017 and has taken a series of initiatives which strive to build systems to counter AMR holistically. The Minister added that India’s example of prioritising the development and implementation of State Action Plans for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance to ensure effective containment of AMR across sectors at this cutting-edge level is a best practice that can be further discussed and emulated by other countries in the world. In fact, the threat posed by AMR to public health as well as global health security has been reiterated in numerous World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions. AMR is also prioritised under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and India is one of the contributing countries. In May 2015, the 68th World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (GAP-AMR) – including antibiotic resistance, the most urgent drug resistance trend. The WHA resolution urged Member States to align their National Action Plan (NAP) on AMR with GAP-AMR by May 2017. Commitment by global leaders to combat AMR was further strengthened at the High Level Meeting on AMR at the United Nations General Assembly on 21 September 2016.

It is true that the Indian government is also seized of the seriousness of the issue which is evident from the fact that the Union Health Ministry had identified Antimicrobial Resistance as one of the top 10 priorities for the Ministry’s collaborative work with WHO. The National Health Policy, 2017 identified AMR as a problem and called for effective action to address it. An international conference on AMR – “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: A Public Health Challenge and Priority”, was jointly organized by the Government of India and WHO in February 2016, which was attended by more than 350 participants. More recently, India’s national medical education regulator, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has taken a decision to frame common module on Antimicrobial Resistance containment which will improve awareness and understanding of Antimicrobial Resistance among undergraduate, postgraduate medical students, and teaching professionals of medical colleges. The Commission’s action in this regard is part of its effort to operationalize NAP on AMR which is aimed to curtail spread of AMR in the country. Earlier in April 2017, the Union Health Ministry had come out with the NAP for curtailing Antimicrobial Resistance which needs to be launched across the country so as to bring about an alignment with the GAP-AMR with a “one health” approach. There can be no dispute about the fact that AMR has become a serious and growing public health threat globally. And India is no exception. It threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an increasing range of infections and it has been identified as a global health threat with serious health, political and economic implications. As the Indian Minister stated at the Third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance at Muscat in Oman recently, time has come for the world leaders and their governments to take concerted efforts at international, national and sub-national levels to tackle the development challenge posed by AMR as one family.