Antimicrobial Resistance the World Health Organization (Download PDF)

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The World Health Organization celebrates World Antibiotic awareness week globally between 18 - 24 November every year globally to create awareness on the antibiotics. This year its focus was on preventing infections by sanitation, vaccination and safe sex. Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to Global Health, security and food. Discovery of antimicrobials helped to mitigate the morbidity and mortality in 1950s and 1960s. Infectious diseases can be easily cured by antibiotics but the irrational use of antibiotics may lead to the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antibiotics Overview

  • Antibiotics are used to treat serious bacterial infections like pneumonia but they are being used everyday for viral infections such as cold, flu etc.
  • Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside human body inorder to become resistant. Out of the Global production of antibiotics, 73 % are produced for animals as growth promoters also affect the human.
  • Only 10 % of antibiotics are prescribed by Doctors the rest used by without doctor՚s prescription.
  • Antibiotics are freely available to those who can afford them.
  • This is because of the poorly regulated pharmaceutical industries which are leading to overuse of antibiotics.


  • Overuse of antibiotics is becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of super bugs.
  • These are strains of bacteria they developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics.
  • Superbugs cause the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for the overuse of antibiotics by humans.
  • Superbugs cannot be treated by present antibiotics.
  • The microbes they get resistance from previously used medication to treat them. This ability of resistance is known as Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) .
  • These microbes resistance to multiple antimicrobial are called as superbugs or multidrug-resistant (MDR) .
Superbugs Antibiotics Disrupt

Antibiotic Stewardship Program (AsP)

  • In 2001, the WHO published its Global strategy for Containment of antimicrobial resistance but the effective antibiotic stewardship for prevention of antimicrobial resistance was not implemented properly.
  • This ASP is aims to raise awareness among the people, hospitals and Healthcare workers to curb the problem of antimicrobial resistance.
  • The doctors are responsible for the crisis of superbugs.
  • There is need to adapt to various methods to counter this problem rather than antibiotic stewardship.
  • According to the Integrity Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) , Nearly 10 million people are estimated to die annually from resistant infections by 2050.
  • The world will lose 3.8 % of its annual GDP by 2050 and nearly 24 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030.
  • In 2017, India developed National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) but it is not effective in all the states only Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have come up with state action plan.

    Preventive methods for AMR

Preventive Methods for AMR
  • Minimize the transmission of infection with sanitation, purification of water thereby improving cleanliness in hospital.
  • Pharmaceutical industries must focus on the distribution of drugs in a responsible manner. Only authorized practitioners are allowed to prescribe these medicines.
  • There is a need to improve spending on Healthcare and strengthening an ethical regime in medical practice.
  • India also needs to focus on immunization and eliminate drinking contaminated water.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 11, 2019

Science/Technology, Health, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Down-to-Earth

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