The Kerala Health Department Friday declared the Family Health Centre (FHC) at Kakkodi in Kozhikode district as the country’s first antibiotic-smart hospital.
Health Minister Veena George said her department had issued guidelines to control the excessive use of antibiotics and the FHC at Kakkodi has met all parameters in this regard, leading to the declaration of the hospital as the first antibiotic-smart hospital. This is part of the antibiotic literate state campaign, she added.
“We cannot imagine a situation in which diseases cannot be cured by medicine. Antimicrobial resistance is a global health threat. The state government has formulated a scientific action plan to prevent excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics. Kerala aims to become an antibiotic-literate state. To make this a reality, district and block-level antimicrobial resistance (AMR) committees have been formed in the state, which is the first time in the country,” she said.
To become an antibiotic-smart hospital, a health care centre has to meet 10-point criteria. They include training for all health care professionals at the hospital in infection control practices and antimicrobial stewardship, a programme aimed at appropriate use of antibiotics.
Besides, hospitals should conduct prescription audits regularly and there should be proper disposal of expired or unused antibiotics and more than 95 per cent of antibiotics prescription in OPDs should be from the access category.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, change over time and no longer respond to medicines. This means that the germs are not killed and continue to grow. Resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
Earlier, the Kerala government had unveiled an antibiotic policy to contain the threat from antimicrobial resistance, thereby becoming the first state to have its own antibiotic policy. It covered agriculture and animal husbandry departments as antibiotics used in dairy and poultry sectors are causing serious public health hazards. Accordingly in 2019, the state launched the Kerala Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan (KARSAP) to make Kerala an antibiotic literate state. In 2023, Kerala established AMR committees in all districts and blocks.