As the world observes the ‘World Antibiotic Awareness Week’ from November 12-18, aimed at increasing global awareness of antibiotic resistance (AMR), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has done an assessment of India’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017-21) – the assessment finds limited progress on only a few critical activities to contain AMR from animal and environmental sources.
“Even after a year and a half after India’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017-21) came into being, there is at best limited progress on only a few critical activities to contain AMR from animal and environmental sources. Many of these were planned to be completed within a year. India is going to be heavily impacted by the AMR crisis and we cannot afford such delays,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
Besides antibiotic use in human health, overuse and misuse of antibiotics in producing food from animals such as chicken meat, eggs, milk and fish is a key cause behind rising AMR. India will be heavily impacted by it due to its huge burden of infectious diseases, large-scale food animal production using antibiotics, and inadequate healthcare systems.
CSE researchers also point out that poor management of waste — which can contain antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria or genes transferring resistance — from farms, pharmaceutical factories, healthcare settings and households adds to the emergence and spread of AMR.
“India still does not have laws and systems to control use of antibiotic growth promoters in animal feed, or those which would help track the sale and use of antibiotics in food animals. All we have so far is a Central government advisory, which cannot be enforced in states,” says , programme director, food safety and toxins, CSE.
“What India also needs is a clear roadmap for two things – one, to phase out use in animals of antibiotics which are critically important for humans, and two, to stop antibiotic misuse for mass disease prevention,” adds Khurana.