Strengthen measures to combat AMR
Although the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been discussed for a long time, its impact has not been clearly estimated so far. This is because it was difficult to separate and clearly distinguish the victims and disabilities caused by this phenomenon from those caused by other means. But the first comprehensive study of its global impact and its findings raise serious concerns. A study conducted in 204 countries and territories and published in The Lancet estimates that AMR directly caused 1.27 million deaths and played a role in 4.95 million deaths in 2019 worldwide. It is now a leading cause of death, claiming more lives than HIV/AIDS and malaria. Health threats related to AMR and conventional diseases did not receive much attention during the Covid pandemic, but they need to be taken seriously now.
Antimicrobial resistance is, in simple terms, the immunity acquired by pathogenic microbes against the drugs used to combat them. When they acquire such an ability, the drugs are no longer effective against them. Sometimes the dosage of drugs will have to be increased, and it may happen that they can no longer fight the pathogens that cause the disease. Antimicrobial resistance is caused by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, their use in livestock and poultry, lack of good practices in hospitals, and lack of hygiene and sanitation. The report for the first time showed the impact of a range of pathogens and estimated the number of deaths caused by them. It has produced a wealth of data that will be useful to physicians, analysts and authorities in formulating appropriate responses to the problem. The study found that drug resistance in lung infections had the greatest impact in terms of death and that young children were particularly at risk.
Deaths caused directly by and associated with AMR were highest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The risk is particularly great in India, where the health system functions poorly. The central government formulated an action plan on antimicrobial resistance in 2017 and some states are reportedly developing a similar plan. Some isolated decisions and actions such as banning a particular drug have been taken. But the fight against AMR has not yet entered medical practice. Ethics and treatment habits must undergo change. The sale and use of antibiotics must be regulated and processes to address antimicrobial resistance must be in place. Further research into the problem is also needed. But it is clear that action must be taken at the local, national and international levels to deal with it.