Red Line Campaign Current Affairs - 2019

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WHO launches AWaRe tool to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched a global campaign urging governments all across the world to adopt its new online tool called AWaRe (Access, Watch and Reserve), which is aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers of country to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.

This AWaRe tool was developed by World Health Oraganisation’s Essential Medicines List (EML) to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic-related adverse events, and also to make antibiotic use safer, cheaper and more effective for its consumer.

Key Highlights

Objective: to combat growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide and to limit drugs those are at risk of resistance.

About: The WHO’s latest advisory, suggested adoption of AWaRe approach which classifies antibiotics into three groups –

  1. Access– which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections
  2. Watch– which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system
  3. Reserve– those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort

Need:

As per WHO estimates, in most of the countries more than 50% of antibiotics are used inappropriately for treatment of viruses even when they only treat bacterial infections, or are wrong choice of antibiotic (broader spectrum), thus contributing to spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Also, when antibiotics stop working effectively, treatments become more expensive and hospital admissions are increased, thus this may take a heavy toll on already stretched health budgets of developing countries.

Measures Undertaken:

This new campaign will strive towards increasing proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in Access group to minimum 60%, and towards reducing use of antibiotics most at risk of resistance from Watch and Reserve groups.

As Access antibiotics are narrow-spectrum antibiotics drugs (means that they target a specific microorganism rather than many), therefore, using Access antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance. They are also less costly than others as they are available in generic formulations.

India’s Efforts

Red Line Campaign: In India, Union Ministry of Health Affair has made it mandatory to display a 5mm-thick red vertical band (line) on packaging of prescription-only drugs (those which compulsorily require Doctors’ Prescription) so as to sensitise people and make them cautious while buying these Antibiotic medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.