Prelims level : Science & Technology Medicine and Pharmaceutical Mains level : GS2L – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
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  • This is the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) prescription to combat the growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide.


  • WHO has suggested the adoption of ‘Access, Watch and Reserve’,
  • An approach that specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections,
  • which ones ought to be available at all times in the healthcare system, and those that must be used sparingly, or reserved and used only as a last resort.


Antimicrobial Resistance:

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe
  • The term antibiotic resistance is a subset of AMR, as it applies only to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.
  • Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant.
  • These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
  • It leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

Prevention and Control:

  • Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the Misuse and overuse of Antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control.
  • In India, the Health Ministry has made it mandatory to display a 5mm •thick red vertical band on the packaging of prescription • only
    drugs to sensitize people to be cautious while buying these medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.

Way Ahead:

  • There is need to sensitize health professional including Doctors, Pharmacist regarding menace that antibiotic can cause.
  • The allied medicinal practitioner such BAMS, BHMS and other doctors who are spread at grass root level prescribes antibiotics rampantly, should be regulated.
  • BAMS, BHMS and other allied medicinal practitioner must not be allowed to prescribe Higher antibiotics.
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