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Use of Antimicrobial Agents in India

The term microbial agents is being used pretty commonly these days. If you have also heard of it and you are wondering what are microbial agents then you should read on. An antimicrobial is an agent which stops the growth of or kills microorganisms. Usually the antimicrobial medicines are classified on the basis of the microorganism they work to control and eliminate. For instance, some antimicrobials are used to control bacteria while some are used to control fungi.

Key Uses

Though human use of antimicrobials is increasing day by day, its use is also for sheep, cattle, fish and chicken.The use of Antimicrobial agents in food products manufacturing is also popular. Antimicrobials can treat diseases in animals, help in avoiding diseases for animals who are at high risk, and sometimes they are used as growth promoters for animals.  Apart from animals, antimicrobials are used in plant agriculture such as vegetables, fruits and orchids as well as industrial applications like industrial paints, oil pipelines, etc. Use of antimicrobial agents in food packaging is also becoming popular.

Use in India

In India, antimicrobial agents are used extensively in food products derived from animals in order to prevent and treat infection. Last year, in February 2017, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, released an advisory on rational use of antibiotics for limiting the spread of antimicrobial resistance. This was done to curb the careless use of antimicrobial drugs—specifically antibiotics, their availability without any prescription, and their uncontrolled use in agriculture and livestock rearing.

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR)

The easy availability of antimicrobial agents has made people so addicted to them that microorganisms are able to stop antimicrobial from working against them. Hence, the antimicrobial agents are able to spread easily not only in one human being but also other humans as well.

It won’t be wrong to say that antimicrobial resistance is a serious problem for India because even though India is a developing country, the levels of resistance in people is much higher than the people in developed countries. Even the prestigious international organizations like World Health Organization, and the European Centre for Disease Control have listed antimicrobial resistance as a key issue.  This challenge needs to be tackled by the health care providers and policy makers.

National Action Plan to Deal With AMR

India has developed a National Action Plan to deal with AMR in which the focus is to stop misuse of antimicrobials like antibiotics by consumers, doctors and healthcare institutions. Known as The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017-21), this plan includes various government agencies that take care of education, health, environment and livestock to ensure that prescription practices and consumer behavior are changed. The blueprint of the plan meets global standards and is already under implementation.

In essence, it can be said that though antimicrobials are essential for humans, animals and food production, there is a need to stop their unnecessary use and easy availability. Though the government is doing enough to stop the misuse, it is also the responsibility of the consumers like you and us to reduce the use of antimicrobials by being less dependent on them. Otherwise, we will end up making ourselves and our future generations more vulnerable to uncurable health problems.

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