Antibiotics Survey by NCDC

News Excerpt:

Over half of the almost 10,000 hospital patients surveyed recently were given antibiotics to prevent infection rather than to treat it amidst growing concerns about the rise in resistance to antibiotics.

Key Highlights of the survey:

  • Out of 11,588 admissions and 9,652 eligible patients, 72% were prescribed antibiotics. 
    • Of these, only 45% were prescribed antibiotics for therapeutic indications meant to treat infection or disease. 
    • The remaining 55% were prescribed the drugs for prophylactic indications, meant to prevent the occurrence or spread of an infection. 
    • Only 6% were prescribed antibiotics after a confirmed diagnosis of the specific bacteria causing their illness, called definitive therapy
    • The remaining 94% were on empirical therapy, based on the doctor’s clinical experience in assessing the likely cause of an illness.
  • As the NCDC survey notes, one of the main drivers for the development of antibiotic resistance is the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) has also identified antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the top threats to public health
    • It is a natural phenomenon as bacteria evolve, making drugs used to treat infections less effective.
  • Using the WHO’s Access, Watch and Reserve (AWaRe) classification, it was found that only 38% of the prescriptions were for antibiotics belonging to the Access group, which “offer the best therapeutic value while minimizing the potential for resistance”. 
    • However, a much larger 57% of the prescriptions were for antibiotics belonging to the Watch group, which are “only indicated for a specific, limited number of infective syndromes and are more prone to be a target of antibiotic resistance”. 
    • Just 2% of the antibiotics prescribed were from the “last resort” Reserve group of drugs. 
    • The high use of Watch group antibiotics is of concern as these antibiotics have a higher potential to develop antibiotic resistance,” the survey noted.

About National Centre for Disease Control:

  • The NCDC is the nodal agency for India’s national programme on AMR containment, one of the key components of which is the surveillance of antibiotic usage. 
  • To achieve this goal, it has established the National Antibiotic Consumption Network (NAC-NET), through which network sites compile data on antibiotic consumption in their respective health facilities and send it to NCDC.
  • According to NCDC, a major contributing factor to antibiotic resistance is the overuse of antibiotics by humans, with approximately half or more hospitals using antibiotics inappropriately.

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