The state of Kerala in India moves forward with action on AMR

The state of Kerala in India moves forward with action on AMR

A high level workshop to discuss about Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) was held on 17th October 2017 at the State Health Resource Training Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. The meeting was led by the state Health Minister, the state Health Secretary apart from representatives from the World Health Organization and National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi. The meeting had delegates from the state government departments of health, animal husbandry, dairy development, fisheries and environment. 

The forenoon session had presentations from various government departments and institutions working in sectors related to AMR. Each presentation focused on the research work or interventions done by the respective departments/institutions. The Health Minister said that the government is committed to fight AMR and assured all those present of all possible help- financially and administratively. The Health Secretary remarked that there is a lot of duplication in the research work being carried out by different institutions and that there is a need for a platform to share the findings. 

The afternoon session was dedicated for group work, in which all the delegates were divided into multiple groups with facilitators guiding the discussions. Each group was given a topic to discuss based on the National Action Plan on AMR. The groups were based on the domain expertise of the delegates and the task was to discuss the National Action Plan in the context of the state. The discussions were robust, and many lacunae in information sharing were discovered during these discussions. Each of the groups presented their findings, and the rest of the participants evaluated the feasibility of their recommendations in real-time.

It was decided that Kerala will move towards the formation of a State Action Plan on AMR, reportedly the first sub-national action plan in the whole of Low and Middle Income Countries. The meeting also decided to celebrate the World Antibiotics Awareness Week across the state so that there is more awareness among the general population about issues of antibiotic abuse and emergence of drug resistance. It was unanimously decided that Kerala would attempt to show the way to the rest of the country in the fight against AMR, and build models for intervention which can be implemented across the country. A government working group was also formed that would meet at regular intervals to monitor the progress of the State Action Plan and also to ensure inter-sectoral coordination.