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IMA collaborates with 52 medical specialty organizations to tackle AMR

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday announced the formation of the National Alliance of Medical Professionals on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAMP-AMR), a collaboration of 52 medical specialty organisations and associations from across the nation to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“The alliance aims to lead the way in global efforts to mitigate the impact of AMR through collaborative efforts, strategic planning, and governmental support,” IMA said in a statement.

Calling AMR a significant threat to the health of India, Narendra Saini, chairman of IMA’s AMR wing, said that 297,000 deaths were attributable to AMR, with 1.04 million deaths being associated with it in India in 2019.

“The formation of NAMP-AMR by IMA marks the beginning of a concerted national effort to tackle this crisis head-on,” he added.

The formation of the alliance comes after Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) Atul Goel wrote a letter in February this year, urging all pharmacists to address the threat of AMR by dispensing antibiotics only on the prescription of a qualified doctor, hence limiting over-the-counter (OTC) sales.

AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics, antibacterials, and antivirals, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As a result of this drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability, and death.

“AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by resistant microbes, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death,” DGHS Goel stated in his letter to pharmacists.

The DGHS added that misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are among the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. “Such treatment failures also lead to longer periods of infectivity, and the prohibitively high cost of second-line drugs may result in failure to treat these diseases in many individuals,” he stated in the letter.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had also earlier expressed concerns that neglecting AMR could severely impact India’s health apparatus. Government sources have indicated that the ministry is working on introducing a National Action Plan (NAP) 2.0 for AMR.

Several reports, too, have flagged the need to stop OTC sales of antibiotics and spread awareness about the rational use of antibiotics to prevent cases of AMR in India.

A study in the Lancet journal in May this year pointed out that around 750,000 deaths associated with AMR could be prevented every year in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) by improving measures that prevent infections. Business Standard

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