India finalises national action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance

With antimicrobial resistance increasingly becoming a serious threat to global public health, Government of India has finalised a comprehensive and multi-sectoral national action plan to contain the menace.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact and coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance,” said J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at at the ‘Inter-Ministerial Consultation on AMR containment’ in Delhi on Wednesday.

Other minister present in the meeting were Ram Vila Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Anil Madhav Dave, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Anupriya Patel, MoS (Health & Family Welfare).

The ministers later signed a ‘Delhi Declaration’ for collectively strategizing to contain AMR.

The plan pledges to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach towards prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India.

It calls on all stakeholders including UN, WHO, FAO and other UN agencies, civil society organizations etc., to support the development and implementation of the national and state action plans on AMR.

Nadda said that under the guidance of the Prime Minister who has stressed on the need to converge actions
across ministries and departments and not work in silos, so as to not have segmented outcome: “We are working in the direction of pulling out malaise of AMR from the root. Health Ministry is at the receiving end as there are various layers and every layer needs to be addressed”.

He further added that the action plan has been prepared through extensive national consultations with various stakeholders.

“In alignment with global action plan, India’s action plan has objectives of enhancing awareness, strengthening surveillance, improving rational use of antibiotics, reducing infections and promoting research. In addition, India aims to support neighbouring countries in collective fight against infectious diseases,” Nadda elaborated.

Acknowledging the progress made by the government in combating AMR, Nadda said that health ministry has taken a lead in this effort at international fora and has initiated series of actions including setting up a National Surveillance System for AMR, enacted regulations (Schedule-H-1) to regulate sale of antibiotics, brought out National Guidelines for use of antibiotics etc.

He further said that more efforts are required considering the large size of our country, magnitude of the
problem and the fact that AMR needs to be addressed comprehensively under “One Health Approach”.

“This is a landmark occasion”, said the Union Minister for Health. “We are ready with a blueprint that meets global
expectations. The challenge now is in its efficient implementation through a coordinated approach at all levels of use of antibiotics,” he added.

The minister urged all state governments to develop state-specific action plans and assured them of all possible assistance.

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