A new publication titled, “Situation Analysis Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in Pakistan: Findings and recommendations for Antibiotic Use and Resistance” was presented by Dr. Ejaz A. Khan, Chair of GARP-Pakistan, at the 15th annual Conference on Infectious Diseases in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) is a project of CDDEP.

From the report: Over the years, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has manifested itself as a major public health threat in almost all countries, including Pakistan. Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) have severely limited our choices of antibiotics for treatment. Being a densely populated country with poor healthcare, the mortality and morbidity rates attributed to infections remain high. Coupled with rising and emerging AMR these are likely to escalate much further.

The burden of MDROs is huge, with poor outcomes, not only in common community-acquired infections but also in healthcare-associated infections with a mortality rate documented as high as 50 percent. Lack of essential equipment and supplies, failures in sterilization and disinfection of instruments, inadequate hand hygiene, overcrowding, understaffing, and the lack of knowledge, training, and competency regarding infection control practices are all identified factors that contribute to resistance within healthcare settings.

Increasing antibiotic consumption in humans and animals, particularly of broad-spectrum antibiotics, is one of the major underlying factors contributing to antibiotic resistance globally. In Pakistan, indiscriminate and excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals and poultry for therapeutic, prophylactic and growth promotion has also added to AMR. Most studies have shown increasing rates of resistance in both human and veterinary medicine, with MDROs being isolated, with increasing frequency, across the country. The use of antimicrobial agents in animals, poultry and agriculture has recognized benefits but overuse has potentially serious implications for human health. Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs (ASP) and Infection Control Programs are the most effective immediate options for combatting AMR. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, such initiatives to address AMR have not been taken until recently.

This “Situation Analysis Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in Pakistan: Findings and recommendations for Antibiotic Use and Resistance” has been undertaken to document and collate current data on different aspects of AMR in various fields. The literature review showed that a lot of data on AMR exists but lacks national coverage and uniformity. With a major focus on AMR surveillance and monitoring, now more robust data is expected to be available that can subsequently be used for addressing many issues related to antibiotic use, resistance, antibiotic stewardship, and infection control. It is hoped that this Situational Analysis Report will also help policy makers in decision making for the National Action Plan on AMR and its implementation in all relevant sectors.

This report is available for download (above).