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Policy on antibiotic resistance

Kerala is all set to become the first state to adopt a comprehensive policy to fight growing antibiotic resistance, identified as one of the biggest medical crises in the country. It is launching the first antibiotic stewardship programme, which will cover public and private health services.

On January 23, the state will be hosting an international symposium on antibiotic stewardship and infection control and prevention to be attended by health secretaries of over 16 states. They will discuss the model being tried out in Kerala and the feasibility of other states adopting it.

As part of the programme’s introduction, a series of consultative workshops under the chairmanship of Kerala health secretary Dr K Ellangovan have been completed. They had active participation of various doctors’ associations including the Kerala branch of the Indian Medical Association and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics.

“The irrational usage of antibiotics even for mild illnesses, which is actually not needed, ultimately leads to high treatment cost and poor treatment outcome by way of emerging antibiotic resistance,” said Kerala health minister VS Sivakumar while announcing the programme, adding that his government was planning to create a model platform for all other states in the area of irrational antibiotic usage.

“The draft of the programme will be prepared out of the several pre-conferences and will be adopted by the government. This will be uploaded on the official website and updated every quarter, and there will be a review at the end of one year. In continuation with the development of state antibiogram, a series of parallel programmes are also planned to ensure behaviour change among patients and doctors in keeping with rational antibiotics usage,” explained Dr Dileep Kumar SR, general manager of Kerala Medical Services Corporation who is a part of the organizing committee.

The programme will look at what antibiotics ought to be available and what ought to be used at various levels of health facilities and will also be looking into restricting self-medication and irrational prescriptions.

At this stage, the programme will be targeting allopathic doctors and pharmacists to educate them on rational use of antibiotics and will seek to change public behaviour through large scale awareness programmes. At the next stage, the state intends to examine and tackle the veterinary use of antibiotics and then address the issue of non-allopathic practitioners like ayurvedic and homeopathic doctors prescribing antibiotics.

Originally published on | TNN | 19 January 2016, 7:55 AM IST



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