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Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antibiotics Released

To ensure judicious use of antibiotics in healthcare facilities, the ICMR released on Tuesday Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines to advise hospitals in setting up Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs (AMSP) for the purpose. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, and with very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, it is important to use the existing drugs judiciously. Since inappropriate use of antibiotics is rampant in India, there is an urgent need to improve antibiotic use in hospitals, which can be achieved through implementation of good AMS programs, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava said. AMS guidelines provide guidance in setting up structure and processes of AMSP in healthcare institutions, discusses essential elements of antimicrobial stewardship and diagnostic stewardship, and provides information on tools that can be used to measure progress.

The National Health Policy, 2017, terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritizes development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use, limiting over-the-counter use of antibiotics and restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock. Hospital-based programs dedicated to improving antibiotic use, commonly referred to as AMSP, have been helpful in improving the quality of patient care and safety through increased infection cure rates, reducing treatment failures, and increasing the frequency of correct prescription for therapy and prophylaxis, Dr Bhargava said. Unfortunately, most of hospitals in India lack the structure and process of implementing AMSP, the ICMR director general said. Recognizing the importance of setting up AMSP structures in healthcare institutions, the ICMR has initiated AMSP activities by developing AMSP curriculum, conducting workshops and developing AMSP research projects, he said. “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, which is recognized as high priority area by the government. The increasing consumption of antibiotics is one of the key drivers of antimicrobial resistance seen in bugs.

“Irrational prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics, poor regulations around sale of antibiotics, self-medication, lack of education and awareness regarding responsible use of antibiotics have been identified as some of the key factors driving antimicrobial resistance in our country,” Dr Bhargava said. Continuing its capacity building initiative, the ICMR organized AMSP training, for more than 150 participants from various hospitals and medical colleges. It had organized four such workshops last year in which 150 healthcare staff from 32 medical colleges and hospitals were trained. Almost all the hospitals which participated in the workshops have initiated AMSP activities. Tuesday’s workshop was held in partnership with Pfizer under the ICMR-Pfizer partnership on AMR in order to help in expansion of the ongoing initiatives of ICMR in the areas of stewardship, surveillance and awareness on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to other levels of healthcare. – Business Standard