Implement guidelines for use of antibiotics, say docs

Implement guidelines for use of antibiotics, say docs

There is an immediate need to implement antibiotic use policy across hospitals to stop misuse and overuse of antibiotics, said doctors from Indian Council of Medical Research and All India Institute of Medical Sciences while addressing a press conference on Tuesday.

This week is observed as Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Currently, there is a steep rise in cases in which patients are resistant to antibiotics due to its overuse. While there is a need to raise people’s awareness on not buying antibiotics over the counter, doctors also need to be sensitised more on rational use of antibiotics, said health experts.

“There is a rise in neonatal deaths due to antibiotic resistance. There is a need to educate the medical community as well,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General of ICMR.

Doctors should focus more on vaccination and rely on diagnostic services before prescribing antibiotics to patients. If vaccination for preventable diseases is scaled up then the use of antibiotics will automatically come down, said doctors.

“The use of diagnostic services is still neglected in our country,” said Dr Swaminathan.
Surveillance across hospitals also need to be stepped up so that hospital acquired infections can be curbed.


At the AIIMS Trauma Centre, the hospital acquired infections like ventilator associated pneumonia has now come down to 14 per 1,000 cases from 22 per 1,000 cases in 2010. This is due to increased surveillance and sensitisation among doctors.

“The hospital is working on improving the surveillance system. The figures have improved for other hospital acquired infections as well. We stress on training the healthcare workers to maintain higher hygiene level in both ICU and wards,” said Dr M C Mishra, Director, AIIMS.

Simple tips like frequent handwashing can also help bring down hospital acquired infections. Patients are also admitted for lesser days than before in hospital, said doctors.

“We have brought down the cost of antibiotic by around 20 per cent compared to before at teh AIIMS Trauma Centre,” said Dr Mishra.

The ICMR is now conducting a survey in four hospitals — PGI, Chandigarh, JIPMER, Pondicherry, AIIMS and CMC, Vellore. The ICMR has found that acinetobacter and pseudomonas — the two most common bacteria which causes hospital acquiring infections — have been found to be resistant to carbapenems bacteria in 50 per cent cases.

“Therefore in such cases, it becomes difficult to treat the patients to treat with carbapenems antibiotic. Either we have to move to another drug or use a higher dosage,” said Dr Kamini Walia from the ICMR. This indicates irrational use of antibiotics.

The ICMR will soon publish its findings in a journal. Doctors also alerted that antibiotics should not be used as growth promoters in animals.

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