Antimicrobial Stewardship guidelines for judicious use of antibiotics released

To ensure judicious use of antibiotics in healthcare facilities, the ICMR released on Tuesday Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines to advise hospitals in setting up Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes (AMSP) for the purpose.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, and with very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, it is important to use the existing drugs judiciously.

Since inappropriate use of antibiotics is rampant in India, there is an urgent need to improve antibiotic use in hospitals, which can be achieved through implementation of good AMS programmes, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr. Balram Bhargava said.

AMS guidelines provide guidance in setting up the structure and processes of AMSP in healthcare institutions, discusses essential elements of antimicrobial stewardship and diagnostic stewardship, and provides information on tools that can be used to measure progress.

The National Health Policy, 2017, terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritizes development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use, limiting over-the-counter use of antibiotics and restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock.

Hospital-based programmes dedicated to improving antibiotic use, commonly referred to as AMSP, have been helpful in improving the quality of patient care and safety through increased infection cure rates, reducing treatment failures, and increasing the frequency of correct prescription for therapy and prophylaxis, Dr. Bhargava said.

Unfortunately, most of the hospitals in India lack the structure and process of implementing AMSP, the ICMR director general said.

Recognizing the importance of setting up AMSP structures in healthcare institutions, the ICMR has initiated AMSP activities by developing AMSP curriculum, conducting workshops and developing AMSP research projects, he said.

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