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Experts stress the importance of unified data systems and standard operating procedures for antimicrobial resistance surveillance in India, according to ET HealthWorld.

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Need for Unified Data Systems and SoPs for AMR Surveillance in India: Experts, ET HealthWorld

In a recent workshop hosted by Ashoka University, experts from World Health Organization (WHO), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and partners of Alliance for Pathogen Surveillance and Innovation (APSI) discussed the urgent need for Unified Data Systems and Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for surveillance of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) in India. The experts highlighted the impact of AMR on One Health and developed strategies to combat its escalation.

ICMR’s Annual Report 2022 estimated that the abuse of antimicrobials in India has led to a sustained increase in the prevalence of AMR, making it one of the countries with the largest burdens of drug-resistant pathogens globally. The workshop emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation in addressing the global threat of AMR.

During the workshop, Prof Anurag Agrawal from Ashoka University and Prof L.S. Shashidhara from NCBS discussed the APSI consortium’s efforts to tackle AMR in different regions of India through collaboration with public and private academia, hospitals, R&D labs, and government departments. The consortium aims to generate data that will contribute to framing public health policies and strategies at the national and state levels.

The experts also highlighted the need to integrate surveillance data into healthcare and environmental systems for better decision-making and policy development. They emphasized the use of digital systems to empower stakeholders, especially research labs, in generating and allocating data effectively.

Researchers working with APSI shared the challenges and data obtained during the surveillance of AMR in wastewater, milk samples, and clinics. They found widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance-causing genes in all environments tested, suggesting the need to correlate these findings with AMR in clinics for more effective environmental surveillance. The workshop was part of APSI’s outreach activities to advance pathogen surveillance in collaboration with public and private members like Ashoka University.

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