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Antimicrobial resistance: Here’s what can be done to address environmental AMR in India

GS Paper 4

Syllabus: Issues relating to health


Source: DTE

Direction: The article discusses the issue of AMR – what it is, prevention and the way ahead to tackle this top global public health emergency.

 Context: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been declared one of the top global public health threats by the World Health Organization (WHO).


  • In 2019, an overall 95 million deaths were caused by AMR infections and associated complications.
  • India is the world’s largest consumer of antibiotics and has the world’s highest infectious disease burden including due to multi-resistant pathogens (superbugs).
  • AMR may cause a global annual GDP loss of $3.4 trillion by 2030 and may push 24 million people into extreme poverty.


About AMR:


Factors leading to AMR:

  • Overuse, misuse and over-the-counter use of antimicrobials;
  • Poor sanitation, sewage and waste;
  • Effluent and waste from the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare facilities;
  • Overuse of antimicrobials in crop production and Animal husbandry;


Preventive measures:

●        One Health Quadripartite: In 2021, the FAO, UNEP, WHO and World Organisation for Animal Health joined to combat AMR.

●        Environmental Dimensions of AMR Summary for Policymakers report Recommended stakeholder action in four key areas –

○        Strengthening environmental governance

○        Targeting priority chemical pollutants like antimicrobials

○        Enhancing reporting, surveillance and monitoring

○        Prioritising innovative and sustainable financing


National Action Plan on AMR (NAP-AMR) for 2017-2021 addresses six critical issues –

●        Creating awareness through effective IEC and training

●        Strengthening knowledge through surveillance

●        Effective infection prevention and control

●        Optimising the use of antimicrobial agents

●        Promoting investments

●        Strengthening India’s leadership

The country is in the process of updating its NAP-AMR for the period 2022-2026.

Way ahead:

  • More research to better understands the spread of AMR in the environment.
  • Short-term and long-term action points related to policy, institutional framework, research, surveillance, engagement and awareness.


Conclusion: With India taking over the G20 Presidency and One Health being one of the priority areas for discussion, the time is opportune for India to address the environmental aspects of AMR.


Insta Links:

Tackling antimicrobial resistance


Mains Links:

Q. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. Examine why.