53% Indians take antibiotics without prescription: WHO

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    Raising concerns over drug resistance, a new study has revealed that 53 per cent Indians take antibiotics without a doctor's prescription. And up to 48 per cent want to change their physician if not prescribed antibiotics for something as simple as a common cold.

    According to a preliminary study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 16 per cent physicians prescribe antibiotics to patients with non-specific fever.

    "17 per cent physicians feel that all patients with cough would need antibiotics and 49 per cent of physicians treat purulent ear discharge with antibiotics," it said.

    The study was conducted with a sample size 150 members of community and 150 physicians in Delhi and some other parts of the country. The study said 25 per cent doctors prescribe antibiotics to children with fever.

    With "antimicrobial resistance" being the theme of World Health Day, the international health agency called for intensifying global commitment towards safeguarding antibiotics for future generations.

    "The time for sustained action is now, since we are slowly but surely moving towards a reversion to the dreadful pre-antibiotic era," Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO's Regional Director for South-East Asia, said.

    Last year, international journal The Lancet reported that India spreading the antimicrobial resistance superbug to other countries.

    Stating that the controversy over the NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1) superbug had a silver lining, Dr Nata Menabde, WHO representative to India said: "It served to sensitise all stakeholders, including the policy makers and the public regarding the need for effective infection control in healthcare settings. It made everyone, including researchers, physicians and other healthcare workers realise this problem."

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