India’s National Action Plan for antimicrobial resistance – An overview of the context, status, and way ahead
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multifaceted complex problem with momentous consequences for individuals as well as health‑care systems. Understanding the gravity of the problem, the World Health Assembly has adopted the Global Action Plan on AMR in the year 2015 as a part of the tripartite collaboration with World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization, and World Organization for Animal Health. India’s National Action Plan (NAP) for AMR was released in April 2017 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The objectives of the NAP include improving awareness, enhancing surveillance measures, strengthening infection prevention and control, research and development, promoting investments, and collaborative activities to control AMR. On the basis of the NAP, various states have begun the process of initiating their State Action Plans. The aim of this article is to highlight some of the main components of the NAP and to make family physicians, general practitioners, and other stakeholders aware of the issue of AMR and its factors and what can be done. The article also discusses some of the challenges in implementation of NAP such as varied perceptions about antibiotic use and AMR among key stakeholders, inappropriate antibiotic use owing to a number of reasons, lack of diagnostic facilities, widespread use of antibiotics in various sectors, environmental contamination because of pharmaceutical industry, agricultural and hospital waste, gaps in infection prevention and control, and difficulty in enforcing regulations. Similar to other low-middle income countries (LMICs), lack of sufficient finances remains a major challenge in NAP implementation in India as well. Overall, a strong political will, inter‑sectoral co‑ordination between public and private sectors and comprehensive strengthening of the healthcare systems are necessary to achieve the desired forward momentum.
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