New Delhi, 30th November 2023 – Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), identified as a ‘slow pandemic,’ is a critical global health threat requiring immediate attention. The three-day international colloquium, part of World AMR Awareness Week, Amrita Legion of Antimicrobial Resistance Management (ALARM) 2023, emphasized the urgency of awareness and collaborative efforts to combat this medical challenge. Organized by the Amrita School of Biotechnology at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, the event addressed concerns about antimicrobial resistance in India’s healthcare, advocating a strategic approach to reduce dependence on these drugs.
“Misusing antibiotics fosters bacterial resistance, and the pharmaceutical industry’s inadequate emphasis on new antibiotics exacerbates this issue. In 2021, India reported 100,000 cases of antibiotic-resistant organisms, indicating pervasive resistance across diverse bacterial infections. Striking a delicate balance in antibiotic dosages is essential, recognizing that overuse significantly contributes to resistance. Our most effective tools in preserving antibiotic efficacy and safeguarding health lie in collective global efforts, innovative research, and responsible antibiotic stewardship,” said Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean & HOD, School of Biotechnology, Amrita University.
ALARM 2023 transcended traditional conference settings, providing a platform for multidisciplinary panels, experts, and policymakers. Specialized policy roundtables integrated AMR considerations into broader health and economic policies. The conference engaged the public through forums, town hall-style meetings, and storytelling sessions, translating complex scientific concepts into relatable narratives. Emphasizing the One Health concept, it acknowledged the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.
Dr. Ranga Reddy, President, Infection Control Academy of India, highlighted, “AMR poses a threat to diverse aspects of life, challenging the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Significant contributors to the rise of AMR include sectors such as agriculture and poultry. Vigilance and appropriate treatment are vital, considering risk factors like excessive antibiotic use, hospitalization, and chronic conditions. Tailored antibiotic therapy based on susceptibility testing becomes imperative, given limited treatment options. Embracing healthy aging involves maintaining overall health and safeguarding against communicable diseases through vaccination.”
Integral campaigns like the Blue Light campaign and WAAW campaign were recommended during AMR week to underscore the importance of awareness. Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in educating patients on antibiotic use, initiating stewardship programs, and advocating for policies supporting AMR control. Foundational practices include rational antibiotic prescribing, implementing infection control measures, public education on antibiotic use, and improving sanitation and hygiene. Essential strategies, such as enhancing surveillance systems, promoting antibiotic stewardship, investing in new antibiotic development, and fostering global collaboration, underline the necessity for centralized policies to counter antibiotic misuse and abuse across various sectors.