Public health experts suggest ways to curb drug resistance
‘Antibiotics are still life savers’
Once an antibiotic is developed, it is available only to a select few for the first few years because of its high cost owing to patent regime. By the time they become inexpensive and affordable to larger population, the pathogenic microbes become resistant to them. We need to have a policy which looks into the issue of antibiotic resistance rationally.
In our work in Maharashtra, we have seen antibiotics being life-savers for the mothers and new-born babies. ASHAs and ANMs should be trained in basic antibiotics administration. Hospitals are very far from the peripheral areas and many lives can be saved with judicious use of antibiotics on the way.
‘Affordable drugs can curb resistance’
Most patients in India visit private practitioners who give haphazard prescriptions. The government needs to set standard procedures for treatment. Also, pharmaceutical companies are producing combination drugs. Some of them are such which should not be combines at all. This practice is leading to resistance development among the patients.
India is a poor country. Patients do not have the money to buy full course of treatment. Once they start to feel comfortable, they stop the course, leading to resistance. Accessibility of affordable medicines is a must to reduce incidence of antibiotic resistance.
WHO is thinking of new approaches to deal with drug resistance. In the past, antibiotics were treated as commercial goods. Now we are trying to change the approach to global public health good. We have to make development of novel drugs sustainable. For this, the private and the public have to work together. We have to develop innovative ways for this.
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