Hyderabad: The Centre may ban use of antibiotics for growth
promotion in agriculture, if the India Working Group of Global
Antibiotic Resistance Partnership has its way. The GARP has submitted
a report to the Central government on eliminating antibiotic use for
growth promotion in agriculture and lowering resistance-enhancing drug
pressure through improved antibiotic targeting.
The GARP, headed by Dr NK Ganguly of the National Institute of
Immunology, regrets that in India the burden of infectious disease is
high but healthcare spending is low. In the last five years the use of
antibiotics has increased by 40 per cent and powerful antibiotics like
cephalosporins by 60 per cent.
Antibiotics are increasingly used in agriculture and veterinary to
boost production, but their residue enters the food chain ultimately
leading to antibiotic resistance in human beings and animals. This
also explains the spurt in hospital acquired diseases, and the
emergence of new pathogens resistance to antibiotics.
"The bacterial disease burden in India is among the highest in the
world. Antibiotics will play a critical role in limiting morbidity and
mortality in the country. As a marker of disease burden, pneumonia
causes an estimated 4.10 lakh deaths in the country each year, and it
is the No. 1 killer of children," Dr Ganguly said.
Many of these deaths occur because patients do not have access to
life-saving antibiotics when and where these are needed. At the other
extreme, antibiotics are used in situations where these cannot be
expected to improve the patient’s condition, particularly as treatment
for the common cold and uncomplicated cases of diarrhoea, the GARP
report submitted to the Centre pointed out.