22November2017

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Experts emphasize awareness to reduce antibiotic misuse

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 Rohit Shishodia

Even doctors need to be equipped with knowledge and diagnostics so that antibiotics are not prescribed unnecessarily.

Experts have expressed concern over the misuse of antibiotics in India since it has emerged as one of the biggest problems in treating patients who develop antibiotic drug resistance.

Easy availability of antibiotics over-the-counter across cities, use of antibiotics in poultry and agricultural domain, lack of awareness about antibiotics among the public and doctors are factors that contribute to the drug resistance problem.

Prof Randeep Guleria, Director, Delhi-AIIMS, says that there is need to spread awareness not only among the masses but also among doctors who decide when and how many antibiotics are required to be prescribed.

“There is a huge amount of antibiotics being used in poultry and agricultural areas indiscriminately which enters the food chain and bacteria get exposed to these antibiotics, thus making it resistant. And when humans get infection, they get the resistant bacteria. Around 10 per cent of patients in AIIMS’ ICU are given fourth generation of antibiotics.  There is need to spread public awareness about judicious use of antibiotics,” added Dr Guleria.

Prof Rakesh Lodha, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS, said that preventive measures is required for decreasing the chances of infections. Basic interventions such as safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene need to be discussed as they can play a great role in curtailing the burden of infections.

“Doctors also need to have better diagnostics to check whether to give antibiotics or not. Large percentages of pneumonia cases which are viral, are understood as infections, resulting prescription of antibiotics. We need to have better diagnostics to examine if it is bacterial pneumonia or viral pneumonia,” added Dr Lodha.

Dr Karan Madan, Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, AIIMS, said, “We need to inculcate hygiene practices in the public to reduce bacterial infections. We should also avoid over-the-counter sale of antibiotics. Hand hygiene, environmental hygiene and clean water are major steps that can reduce the risk of infections.

Prof Purva Mathur, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS, is conducting a systematic surveillance of hospital acquired infection and antimicrobial resistance to check volume of infections in hospital premises so that preventive steps can be taken.

“It is important to check prevalence of infection in hospitals as the same infection goes to communities after discharge of the patient,” added Dr Mathur.

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