He was speaking at a media workshop a day before the 68th session of WHO's South-East Asia regional committee meeting where health ministers of 11 countries are to meet to set health priorities and discuss the health agenda for the region. The meeting is from September 7-11. India is represented in the meeting by a senior bureaucrat Anshu Prakash.
When asked about guidelines for private doctors who prescribe antibiotics to patients the most, Bhatia said, some big hospitals had come out with protocols. "Things are changing and though there are no quick fixes, the government is showing commitment to this issue that needs to be addressed urgently," he added.
He said 10 million people worldwide will die due to the antibiotic resistance by 2050. "Its the single biggest threat to mankind's efforts." Antibiotics are strong medicines used to treat infections, including life-threatening contagious diseases. Antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria, fungi and certain parasites. They don't work against any infections caused by viruses. Viruses cause colds, the flu and most coughs and sore throats.
Experts are expressing concerns that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate. Antibiotic resistance has become one of the most significant threats to patients' safety. They say that to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance, it is important to use antibiotics in the right way, to use the right drug, the right dose, at the right time for the right duration.
It should be taken as prescribed, never saved for later or shared with others. The WHO regional committee, the highest policy making body in the region, will deliberate on this subject. The Regional Committee meets annually and is hosted by one of the 11 member countries of South-East Asia. This is the first time the Regional Committee is meeting in Timor-Leste.