Kerala Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan (KARSAP): What is it?

  • The state of Kerala became the first Indian state to launch an Action Plan for containing Antimicrobial Resistance.
  • The Kerala Antimicrobial Resistance Strategic Action Plan (KARSAP) was released at a ceremony held at the city of Thiruvananthapuram on 25th October 2018.
  • India had released its national level plan on antimicrobial resistance along with a Declaration in Delhi in April 2017, which called for state-level action plans.
  • The KARSAP is a follow-up to the National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance?

  • Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others
  • Antimicrobial resistance – in particular, antibiotic resistance – is a global public health threat. Antibiotics used to treat diseases are increasingly becoming ineffective because of their overuse and misuse in human health and in the production of food from animals such as chicken, fish and dairy products.
  • Poor management of waste from hospitals, farms, pharmaceutical industry and households also adds to the problem.
  • Worldwide, nearly 700,000 people die annually due to an antibiotic resistant infection.
  • A failure to address the problem of antibiotic resistance could result in 10 million deaths and a loss of outputs worth US$100 trillion by 2050.
  • Research by the World Bank also shows that AMR could cause low-income countries to lose more than 5 per cent of their GDP and push up to 28 million people, mostly in developing countries, into poverty by 2050.

Aims and Objectives of KARSAP

  • Kerala is a huge market for medicines and the misuse of antibiotics is very high in the state.
  • There is an urgent need to create awareness among the public about the issues associated with overuse of antibiotics, especially self medication and over-the-counter sales of medicines.
  • This action plan is aimed at giving a strategic direction to the various activities undertaken to tackle antimicrobial resistance in the state.
  • It aims to address animal and environmental dimensions of the AMR problem, which is crucial for effective containment of AMR.


Who Prepared the Action Plan?

  • The plan that has been prepared with the help of World Health Organization and NGOs like Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
  • The process of creating the action plan was led by Rajeev Sadanandan, Additional Chief Secretary of Kerala and Dr Sarada Devi K L, the head of Microbiology at Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Even though the process was led by the health department, there was robust participation from Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Fisheries and Environment Departments; apart from various universities and civil society groups.

Highlights of the Plan

  • The highlight of the action plan is that it recognizes the importance of engaging the private sector and civil society groups in the implementation process.
  • In order to monitor the implementation of the plan and to coordinate the activities the Microbiology Wing of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College will act as the nodal agency. In the case of the private sector, it will be Amrita Institute of Medical Science.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology has been asked to carry out research in AMR and to prevent it.


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