Kerala battles a new health risk

With antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerging as a major concern in the health as well as allied sectors such as veterinary, dairy, fisheries and poultry, Kerala is all set to launch its strategic action plan for tackling AMR.

The draft AMR action plan of the State is in the process of being finalised and implemented, senior health officials told The Hindu. Drastic changes in antibiotic prescription policies and practices will have to be ushered in to tackle AMR, which has already reached dangerous levels in Kerala.

Curbing antibiotic use

The State intends to set up an AMR surveillance network to have a clear understanding of the drug-resistant pathogens in the community, reducing the irrational consumption of antibiotics, and ensuring that rational antibiotic prescription policies are followed by medical fraternity. The draft AMR action focusses on five strategies (see infographic).

AMR surveillance in the State is currently restricted to the sample studies done in tertiary care hospitals but this hardly reflects the situation in the community.

The AMR surveillance data from January to August 2017, from seven tertiary care centres, including five government medical colleges in Kerala, have reported that resistance to Colistin, the last-mile antibiotic available to treat pan-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strains, is a reality in most government medical college hospitals in the State.

“For the first time, Kerala is dealing with the AMR situation from the ‘One Health’ platform (One Health is a fairly recent global concept that the health of humans is linked to the health of animals and environment) and is coordinating with stakeholders in agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, dairy sectors also,” said K.L. Sarada Devi, head of Microbiology, Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College, who is also leading the core working group preparing the AMR action plan.

A meeting of all stakeholders, including government and private medical colleges, had been held at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology recently, to discuss the ongoing research on AMR. A working group is currently vetting the research proposals.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 12:25:41 PM |

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