Context: ‘One Health’ is the optimum approach to counter the impact of antimicrobial resistance.
Discuss antimicrobial resistance.
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR): It is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics that are used to treat infections.
- Reason for AMR:
- The ingenuity and survival instinct of germs.
- The irrational use of antibiotics in humans and animals.
- The long-term impact of AMR: AMR is estimated to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050, unless concerted actions are initiated now. It will result in 7.5 % reduction in livestock production and negatively impact the global GDP by 3.5%.
How can we tackle the AMR challenge?
- Solutions to combat the AMR threat:
- Discovery of new drugs, before the emergence of resistance in germs.
- Prudent use of available antibiotics
- Challenge in producing new antibiotics: it is an expensive and unpredictable process. No new class of antibiotics has been developed since 1984. The estimated cost for developing a new antibiotic exceeds $1 billion.
- Only one option: to use the available antibiotics carefully to ensure their efficacy for as long as possible.
- The World Health Organization Global Action Plan: it provides a road map for tackling this challenge. Almost 80 countries have developed their respective national action plans in alignment with this Plan.
Elaborate on how the one health approach supports focussed actions on the human-animal-environment interface .
- The ‘One Health’ approach: The rational use of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture warrants coordinated action in all sectors. These multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional actions constitute the ‘One Health’ approach.
- It is reinforced by the fact that all the epidemics in the current millennium (SARS, MERS, bird flu and COVID-19) have originated from animals because of unwanted excursion of humans into animal domains.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the urgency of implementing One Health.
- One platform for experts: This effort utilises existing expertise and infrastructure in various sectors with a focus on inter-sectoral coordination, collaboration, and communication.
- Human-animal-environment interface: The approach supports focussed actions on the human-animal-environment interface for the prevention, detection and response to the public health events that influence global health and food security.
- Implementation of One Health: It permits a strong and continuous national narrative on zoonoses. It advocates a multi-sectoral response to public health problems, particularly pandemics, as also to address issues related to AMR.
- There is a need to optimally utilise emerging technologies to improve human health and development. One Health has been acknowledged as the optimum approach to counter the impact of AMR and future pandemics and must be adopted expeditiously.