KOCHI: Antibiotic resistance, a global public health threat, is a big challenge in the country and especially in Kerala where the practice of buying over the counter antibiotics is high. According to experts, strict policy regulations and social intervention are needed to tackle the issue. Experts from the University of Michigan Medical School explained the threat of antimicrobial resistance during an international symposium on ‘Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Stewardship’ conducted at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi.
AIMS and the University of Michigan have signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration in the research on antimicrobial resistance. “The challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance and good antibiotic prescription practice are significant global topics that require such partnerships,” said Dr. Joseph Kolars, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Dr. Sanjeev Singh, medical superintendent, AIMS said that nearly 54 per cent patients were given antibiotics because they asked for it. “In a majority of cases, the patients continue to buy it over the counter from the pharmacist,” he said. Experts stressed the need to have strict government policies and effective awareness to promote rational usage of antibiotics.
“Antimicrobial resistance has many consequences. The patient remains sick for a longer period thus requiring prolonged treatment usually with expensive and at times toxic drugs which results in increased morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Prem Nair, medical director, AIMS. Only a few hospitals in the state follow the practice of regularly reviewing the decision to prescribe high end antibiotics. Only 53 per cent hospitals at the national level follow a review system on antibiotic prescription.