CHENNAI: Health Minister Ma Subramanian addressed the 7th World One Health Congress in Singapore on Tuesday. He emphasised on the need for global monitoring of zoonotic diseases and controlling the drug resistance mechanisms due to overuse of antibiotics and other drugs.
Talking about the rise in zoonotic infections and their spread in humans, he said: “In recent years, the use, abuse and misuse of anti-microbials in both humans and livestock has resulted in large-scale anti-microbial resistance.”
Drug resistance can occur when infections caused by resisting microbes fail to respond to treatment given by antibiotics. “Apart from healthcare industry, farming and veterinary practices also play a huge role in anti-bacterial resistance. The increasing consumption of antibiotics is one of the key drivers of anti-microbial resistance,” he added.
In the healthcare industry, the need to monitor the irrational prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics, poor regulations around sale of antibiotics, self-medication, lack of education and awareness regarding responsible use of antibiotics has been highlighted by experts. Subramanian said: “We must limit the sale and use of over-the-counter antibiotics, restrict their use as growth promoters in livestock, and conduct prescription audit including the use of antibiotics in hospitals and community. Hence, we need to properly educate doctors, patients and the general public on proper drug selection, testing, duration of therapy, vaccination along with a comprehensive infection control programme at the medical institutions.”
He stated that hospital-based programmes dedicated to improving antibiotic use, commonly referred to as Anti-Microbial Stewardship Programme, have been found helpful in improving the quality of patient care and safety in India and implemented by the Hospital Infection Control Committee in hospitals.