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Top India and US doctors meet at Amrita Hospital, Kochi on the threat of infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance

  • In the recent past, India has witnessed many large outbreaks of emerging infections and most of them were of zoonotic origin. The Global Burden of Disease Project suggested a 15-times greater burden of infectious diseases per person in India than in the UK.
  • Meet raises the concern that antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat. The crude infectious disease mortality rate in India today is 416.75 per 100,000 persons and is twice the rate prevailing in the United States.
  • Some important factors responsible for the rising antibiotic resistance in India are indiscriminate use of antibiotics, over-the-counter availability of antibiotics, laxity of regulatory bodies in approval of antibiotics, lack of public awareness about antibiotic resistance, injudicious use in veterinary practice, overburdened health infrastructure, and inequity in healthcare.
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship and infection control education are essential components of effective healthcare delivery systems.

Top doctors of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and University of Michigan (UM) Medical School, US met at Amrita Hospital, Kochi for a two-day International Symposium on Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Stewardship during February 03-04, 2017. Some of the doctors who addressed the symposium included Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi; Dr. Joseph Kolars, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Medical School; Dr. John Carethers, Chair of the Dept of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi; Dr. Vidya P. Menon, Consultant Clinical Associate Professor, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi and Dr. Vineet Chopra, Dept of Hospital Medicine, University of Michigan to name a few.

The symposium followed up on last year’s meeting with deliberations focused on early and accurate detection and diagnostics in infectious diseases, with an evaluation of current capacity, requirements and challenges. Last year, the Health and Family Welfare department of Kerala state organised a national symposium on “Antibiotic Stewardship and Infection Prevention and Control”. Under the auspices of this symposium, a rational Antibiotic Use policy was released for the first time in the country. Antimicrobial stewardship is a bundle of integrated interventions employed to optimize the use of antimicrobials in health care settings. Antimicrobial Stewardship and infection control education are essential components of effective healthcare delivery systems.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has emerged as a global health challenge due to the lack of new antibiotics in the pipeline and ever-increasing burden of infections caused by multi-drug resistant pathogens. Some important factors responsible for the rising antibiotic resistance in India are indiscriminate use of antibiotics, over-the-counter availability of antibiotics, laxity of regulatory bodies in approval of antibiotics, lack of public awareness about antibiotic resistance, injudicious use in veterinary practice, overburdened health infrastructure, and inequity in healthcare.

Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, said, “Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is a global public health threat. The crude infectious disease mortality rate in India today is 416.75 per 100,000 persons and is twice the rate prevailing in the United States. AMR results in 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. The results of traditional bacterial cultures and antimicrobial susceptibility testing, which may take up to several days to obtain, remain one of the major barriers to providing optimal therapy.”

Dr. Joseph Kolars, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Medical School said, “The University of Michigan has a long history of partnering with institutions around the globe to promote academic, clinical and research activities. The challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic stewardship are global problems that require such partnerships. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with Amrita on this important issue.”

Dr. John Carethers, Chair of the Dept of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan said, “The Department of Internal Medicine is delighted to collaborate with Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences on the emerging Sub specialty of Infectious Disease. The threat of antibiotic resistance and need for stewardship of antibiotics is a key element of our collaboration.”

The symposium put forward the need for capacity building and sensitization of all the stake-holders as pre-requisite for antimicrobial stewardship. The multidisciplinary team members comprise of an infectious disease physician, clinical pharmacist, microbiologist, infection control team, hospital epidemiologist, information system specialist, quality improvement staff, laboratory staff and nurses.