Countries should unite to tackle anti-microbial resistance: Nadda

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) South Asian countries should jointly tackle anti-microbial resistance that has arisen due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said on Tuesday.

Nadda urged the countries to improve prescription practices, carry out prescription audits and compile digital repository of patients’ medical histories to combat overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

“A collective action is required by all stakeholders within a region to work towards this common goal. Anti-microbial resistance has emerged the number one public health challenge faced by the world today,” said Nadda at the inauguration of a three-day international conference on combating anti-microbial resistance here.

The World Health Organisation has also said that antibiotics, when used inappropriately, become incapable of treating bacterial infections.

Extending commitment to work with other countries towards combating the problem, Health Secretary B.P. Sharma said: “The ministry has undertaken an exercise to map health facilities in the private and public sectors across the country, which shall be completed in the next three years.”

“It will provide a useful database to analyse the various determinants and impacts of non-rational use of antibiotics,” said Sharma.

On the occasion, the health ministry released ‘Infection Control Guidelines for Hospitals’.

The conference is being attended by health minister of Bhutan Tandin Wangchuk, health minister of Nepal Ram Janam Chaudhary, and minister of state for health of Maldives Mohamed Habeeb.

Tandin Wangchuk, said: “The inappropriate use of antibiotics is leading to high mortality and morbidity, resulting in serious social and economic consequences.”

Ram Janam Chaudhary and Mohamed Habeeb said they would full cooperate in efforts to counter anti-microbial resistance.

Saumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said: “Community-based surveillance will play a very major role in finding solutions to anti-TB drug resistance and other viral diseases.”

She said tackling anti-microbial resistance was a top priority at ICMR.

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