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Microbiologists start nationwide campaign against antibiotics' misuse

Doctors
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Doctors at the launch of a national campaign against misuse of antibiotics in Delhi.

Rohit Shishodia
Considering the ongoing threat of misuse of antibiotics in India, the Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists (IAMM) has launched an 'Antimicrobial Resistance Containment Initiative -- Call for Action'. As part of this initiative, some nine hundred microbiologists will educate school children and others about misuse of antibiotics.

The doctors informed that they will educate the public about use and misuse of antibiotics. The campaign will be conducted in schools and in resident welfare associations. It will also involve brand ambassadors such as actors and leaders for spreading awareness.

Microbiologists will be trained about when and how much antibiotic should be given to patients. Nurses will also be trained because they remain in touch with patients and their attendants. The doctors asserted that there is a need to have judicious use of antibiotics in animals, agriculture and humans.

They said that people have a misconception that microbiologists are pathologists. They should be informed that microbiologists are doctors that treat infections.

Various activities on World Health Day, World Hand Hygiene Day, Walks in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Guwahati, Antibiotic Awareness Week and discussion on preventing hospital acquired infection will be held throughout year.

Dr BL Sherwal, President, IAMM, told DTMT, “This is a uniform program on awareness about misuse of antibiotics that will run throughout the year across India. People should never take antibiotics for common ailments such as cough and diarrhea. Whenever they face any disease, they should consult qualified doctors. Take antibiotics only when doctors prescribe them.”

“People should not stop taking antibiotics midway, of course. They should not follow prescriptions of other patients. This message should reach the common man,” said Dr Sherwal.

“One should understand that misuse of antibiotics leads to resistance in the bacteria. A medicine remains ineffective due to this resistance. Due to overuse of antibiotics, today there is no antibiotic in the pipeline. This has stopped the new inventions of antibiotics. An antibiotic is discovered in twenty years,” said Dr Chand Wattal, Microbiologist and Senior Consultant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.

Dr Vikas Manchanda from the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, said “There is need to understand the cycle of antibiotics. Good and bad bacteria reside in the body. Antibiotics kill the bad ones but impact good ones also. The good bacteria reside in the intestine, skin, throat and other parts of the body.”

Dr Manchanda added "The course of antibiotics must be followed.  The impact of antibiotics can be observed within three days. A red line on the wrapper of the medicine tells us that it is an antibiotic medicine. Patients needed to be informed about it."

IAMM is an association of 3500 microbiologists working across India.


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