[Answered] Evaluate the effectiveness of existing guidelines and policies in India regarding antibiotic prescription and their implementation in healthcare settings.

Introduction: Give a brief context to the question

Body: Highlight the effectiveness of existing guidelines related to antibiotic prescription in India

Conclusion: Way forward

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recently found in a survey that over half of the nearly 10,000 hospital patients surveyed for a study were given antibiotics to prevent, rather than treat, infection. This is a worrying sign as India carries one of the largest burden of drug-resistant pathogens worldwide leading to large cases of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). India has taken a major step in addressing the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is becoming an increasing worldwide concern, by implementing the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) introduced in 2017.

Effectiveness of existing programs and guidelines related to antibiotic prescription

  • Promoting awareness and education: This is a key component of India’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR). This strategy emphasizes the importance of educating healthcare workers, the general public, as well as stakeholders in the veterinary and agricultural industries. This educational initiative is crucial in fostering responsible behaviour and reducing the misuse of antibiotics.
  • Multi-sectoral approach: The plan recognizes that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not solely a challenge for human health; it is also a consequence of antibiotic misuse in veterinary and environmental settings. As a result, various ministries are involved, including those responsible for Health, Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, and Environment. This collaborative, multi-sectoral approach enhances the effectiveness of efforts to address AMR
  • Data collection & reporting: The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) underscores the importance of robust data collection and surveillance. This involves closely monitoring the utilization of antibiotics in agriculture, human health, and veterinary domains. India has the opportunity to adopt successful approaches observed in the surveillance programs implemented in Indonesia.
  • Regulatory Framework: There should be a robust regulatory framework in place to monitor and enforce compliance with antibiotic prescription guidelines. This includes mechanisms to penalize non-compliance and incentivize adherence.
  • Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance: Regular monitoring of antibiotic resistance patterns is crucial. The effectiveness of guidelines can be assessed by the ability to track changes in resistance patterns over time and take corrective actions.


Restricting access to reserve antibiotics is vital for reducing resistance. Countries with high per capita antibiotic use, often linked to privatized healthcare, highlight the need to strengthen public health systems and sanitation to combat AMR. Regions with robust public health systems show lower AMR rates. The solution lies in targeted spending, streamlined service delivery, and enhanced accountability in public health.

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