Antimicrobial resistance Current Affairs - 2019

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WHO launches AWaRe tool to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched a global campaign urging governments all across the world to adopt its new online tool called AWaRe (Access, Watch and Reserve), which is aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers of country to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.

This AWaRe tool was developed by World Health Oraganisation’s Essential Medicines List (EML) to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic-related adverse events, and also to make antibiotic use safer, cheaper and more effective for its consumer.

Key Highlights

Objective: to combat growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide and to limit drugs those are at risk of resistance.

About: The WHO’s latest advisory, suggested adoption of AWaRe approach which classifies antibiotics into three groups –

  1. Access– which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections
  2. Watch– which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system
  3. Reserve– those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort

Need:

As per WHO estimates, in most of the countries more than 50% of antibiotics are used inappropriately for treatment of viruses even when they only treat bacterial infections, or are wrong choice of antibiotic (broader spectrum), thus contributing to spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Also, when antibiotics stop working effectively, treatments become more expensive and hospital admissions are increased, thus this may take a heavy toll on already stretched health budgets of developing countries.

Measures Undertaken:

This new campaign will strive towards increasing proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in Access group to minimum 60%, and towards reducing use of antibiotics most at risk of resistance from Watch and Reserve groups.

As Access antibiotics are narrow-spectrum antibiotics drugs (means that they target a specific microorganism rather than many), therefore, using Access antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance. They are also less costly than others as they are available in generic formulations.

India’s Efforts

Red Line Campaign: In India, Union Ministry of Health Affair has made it mandatory to display a 5mm-thick red vertical band (line) on packaging of prescription-only drugs (those which compulsorily require Doctors’ Prescription) so as to sensitise people and make them cautious while buying these Antibiotic medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.

Month: Categories: International

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WHO list of 10 global health threats

The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of 10 global health threats lists 10 issues which demand immediate attention from WHO and health partners in 2019 has been released. They are:

Air pollution and climate change

Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day. In 2019, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Burning fossil fuels which are a major contributor to climate change also impacts people’s health in different ways.

Noncommunicable diseases

Noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths world and are responsible for over 85% of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.

Global influenza pandemic

WHO warns of impending influenza pandemic.WHO states that Global defences are only as effective as the weakest link in any country’s health emergency preparedness and response system.

Fragile and vulnerable settings

WHO notes that fragile settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including on child and maternal health, remains unmet.

Antimicrobial resistance

Time with antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials is running out. Antimicrobial resistance which is the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi to resist these medicines is threatening to send the world back to a time when the world was unable to easily treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis.

Ebola and other high-threat pathogens

2018 witnessed two separate Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both outbreaks spread to cities of more than 1 million people and  One of the affected provinces was also in an active conflict zone. Similar outbreaks can be witnessed in 2019.

Weak Primary Health Care

Primary health care is the first point of contact people have with their health care system, and Primary Health Care centres should provide comprehensive, affordable, community-based care throughout life. Yet many countries do not have adequate primary health care facilities.

Vaccine hesitancy

The reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. WHO notes that complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy.

Dengue

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that causes flu-like symptoms which can be lethal and kill up to 20% of those with severe dengue. A high number of cases occur in the rainy seasons of countries such as Bangladesh and India, with rainy seasons lengthening significantly and the disease is spreading to less tropical and more temperate countries such as Nepal which have not traditionally seen the disease, Dengue needs to be fought with urgency.

HIV

Even though enormous progress has been made in terms of getting people tested, providing them with antiretrovirals and providing access to preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, the epidemic continues to rage with nearly a million people every year dying of HIV/AIDS.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC

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