PPP to combat antimicrobial resistance in India

The Indian Council of Medical Research and pharma major, Pfizer are in the process of instituting a ‘Centre to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance’ in New Delhi, as part of the MoU signed recently. This project will help address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance in India

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New Delhi: In an example of public-private partnership to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and leading pharma company, Pfizer have joined hands to establish a ‘Centre to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance’ in New Delhi, as part of the MoU signed recently.

The joint initiative will implement a series of comprehensive interventions, ranging from AMR stewardship programs for nursing homes to scaling up of the ongoing AMR surveillance network and creating awareness around responsible use of antibiotics.

Pfizer has provided an initial grant of INR 6.97 crores for this initiative with a provision to scale up further as the program expands.

The governance structure envisioned for this initiative will include a Steering Committee and an Advisory Council comprising representatives from ICMR, Pfizer, leading infectious disease specialists, and experts in the domain areas of AMR. The initiative will also seek partnerships with various medical, pharmaceuticals, pharmacy and healthcare providers’ associations to advance the implementation of each of the interventions.

As per Mr S. Sridhar, Managing Director, Pfizer, “The pharmaceuticals industry must respond in full force to support the Government’s ambitious plan to combat antimicrobial resistance. Since its pioneering contribution of mass-producing penicillin in the 1940s, Pfizer has remained a leading anti-infectives company across the world. We, therefore, recognize that we play an important role in a collective effort to address AMR – one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. We deeply value this partnership with the ICMR and hope to make a tangible contribution to this national endeavor.”

The Government of India views AMR as a key priority and in April 2017 finalized India’s National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR). The NAP-AMR spells out six strategic priorities including improving awareness through communication, education and training, strengthening surveillance and promoting investments for AMR initiatives. The interventions undertaken as part of this partnership will align with these strategic priorities and support the NAP-AMR’s goal of effectively combating antimicrobial resistance in India.

The dedicated centre being set up is to serve as a nodal point to launch interventions in the three areas of stewardship, surveillance, and awareness.

It will help in expanding ICMR’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme across the country in a phased manner with focus on smaller in-patient centres (smaller hospitals and nursing homes). It will also help in enhancing ICMR’s existing AMR Surveillance Programme by training specialists to run an expanded India Surveillance Network that would cover both private and government hospitals to collate, analyse and publish drug resistance data across all geographies in India.
Through the centre, awareness and advocacy programme will be conducted using media and non-media platforms to disseminate information on antibiotic resistance, promote rational use of antibiotics, encourage infection control techniques such as hand hygiene and organize conferences and awards to recognize best practices.