Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) launches campaign against “Antibiotic Resistance”

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The campaign aims at raising awareness on the irrational use and prescription of antibiotics

New Delhi, 3rd October 2018: As a precursor to the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela to be held from 23rd to 27th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), a national NGO working in the healthcare sector, launched a campaign against ‘Antibiotic Resistance” in association with NCDC and WHO. The Perfect Health Mela is a one-of-its-kind event held every year with a mission to generate all-around awareness on health. In its 25th edition, the event expects participation from over 1, 00,000 individuals from all walks of life.

Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI and Dr Sunil Gupta, Additional Director and Head Division of Microbiology National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); and representatives from the health department, Govt. of Delhi, DST, MTNL, MCD, and NDMC were present on the occasion.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “We, at the Heart Care Foundation of India, are committed to ensuring the larger goal of affordable healthcare for all and the Perfect Health Mela is a medium to do that. Considering the growing incidence of antibiotic resistance, there is an urgent need to raise awareness on the issue. Antibiotics are different from all other classes of drugs in a very important way: the more a person uses them, the less effective they can become. For a country like India, where over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics is rampant, it is only a matter of time before the resistant bacteria win. Several of these medicines can be obtained without a prescription. What further complicates the problem is inequalities in access to medicine and poor sanitation services. Antibiotics should not be given unless absolutely necessary.”

Each year, an estimated 750,000 people die from antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) infections, and the death toll will climb unless the global health community acts decisively. It is estimated that by 2050, as many as 10 million people could die annually from AMR complications. This campaign therefore seeks to address this growing concern and focus on strategies to prevent irrational use of antibiotics in the country.

In his message Dr Sujeet K Singh Director NCDC said, “during the last 30 years no new antibiotic molecule has been discovered or invented globally despite research going on in the area. As per the WHO, the most critical group of the resistance species includes multidrug resistant bacteria that pose a threat in hospitals, nursing homes, and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. These are Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus). They can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.”

In its first global report on antibiotic resistance, the WHO has warned that ‘a post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.’

Dr Sunil Gupta, added, “A culture sensitivity test can indicate which antibiotic is effective in what case. It is imperative that a second dose of antibiotic be given only when the result of a rapid method of culture are obtained. Awareness needs to be generated that viral infections and most skin problems do not necessitate the use of antibiotics. The latter should also not be given in combinations unless the culture shows a resistant pattern of infections. We must remember that antibiotics are not sweets or chocolates but rather scheduled and toxic drugs that can cause harm if misused.”

Doctors as well as patients should be aware of and advocate judicious use of antibiotics. Over-prescription and self-prescription, both, need to be checked. One of the biggest reasons for the misuse of antibiotics is buying them over-the-counter without consultation with a doctor. Before prescribing antibiotics, always ask yourself: Is it necessary? What is the most effective antibiotic? What is the most affordable antibiotic? What is the most effective dose? What is the most effective duration for which the antibiotic should be administered?

The theme for the Perfect Health Mela this year is “Affordable Healthcare”. Dr Tusker, the friendly elephant, is the mascot for the event. Visitors and stakeholders alike can look forward to various attractions this year apart from the inter-school and college events and health camps.

Some tips from HCFI

  • It is important to focus on preventing infections. For instance, be at least 3-feet away from someone who has a cough or cold.
  • Bacterial infections can be avoided by following proper handwashing techniques.
  • One should be careful in a healthcare setting as much as in a hospital. In a clinic with multiple patients, beware of the door knobs and bathroom seats. All these are potential sources of infection. Women should wipe off the toilet seat before use as it may carry a dry infection.
  • Doctors should ensure that antibiotics are written in bold or underlined with a red pen when prescriptions are given.
  • Farmers and food industry must stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
  • Always look for a Red Line mark in the medicine you buy, the red alert indicates that its an antibiotic