Bangalore walks for antibiotics awareness

Bangalore, Nov 22 : The Emerging Antimicrobial Resistance Society (EARS), a non-profit organisation which has established a vast network of healthcare institutions and research centres across India for the surveillance of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics, conducted an awareness walk here on Friday as part of its nationwide Awareness Week on Antibiotic Knowledge and Education (Awake) campaign.

The campaign is being conducted for the first time in India from November 16 to 23 in Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh, to promote the rational use of antibiotics.

Holding banners with slogans like "In cough, cold and sneeze, no antibiotics please", "Use antibiotics wisely and be healthy" and "Take action today to save tomorrow", EARS volunteers, joined by doctors, pharmacists and medical and pharmacy students, marched their way from KIMS Hospital to Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute and back, a distance of 2 km.

Syncorp, a contract research organisation (CRO) institute and leading clinical research training and service provider, is associated with the EARS campaign in Bangalore.

Addressing the gathering after flagging off the walk, Dr Huliraj, head, pulmonology department, KIMS Hospital, appreciated the initiative of EARS and underlined the importance of holding such campaigns in India on a regular basis.

"Such initiatives will go a long way in creating awareness about the consequences of misuse of antibiotics. Multi-drug resistance in pathogens is increasing day by day due to irrational use of antibiotics, thus rendering even last-resort antibiotics ineffective against deadly infections," said Dr Huliraj.

Named "Awake and be the change", this first campaign of its kind in the country seeks to avert one of the world's "gravest public health threats" by promoting the rational use of antibiotics through a series of activities.

Apart from awareness walks to motivate people to use antibiotics intelligently, educate them about ways to control antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and drive home the importance of hygiene and sanitation in containing this threat, EARS conducted an awareness campaign through posters simultaneously in all the cities on November 17 and 20.

On November 18, EARS organised a webinar for doctors on the antibiotic stewardship programme at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.

About 3,000 doctors from all over the country were invited to the webinar, which was presented by Dr Chand Wattal, head, microbiology department, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Dr Wattal shared the essentials of the antibiotic stewardship programme, including the quality parameters to check the data on antimicrobial resistance, the challenges in the way of implementation of the antibiotic stewardship programme and the procedures and practices followed by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital under the stewardship programme.

EARS also generated awareness about the right use of antibiotics by sending across bulk SMSes to people and holding one-on-one meetings with chemists in an effort to persuade them not to sell antibiotics without doctor's prescription.

Throughout the week, various seminars and conferences were organised for paramedical/nursing staff and doctors in medical and pharmacy colleges across India to educate them about AMR and its implications in the absence of adequate preventive measures.

--IBNS (Posted on 23-11-2013)

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