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ICMR Urges Medical Pros to Extend AMR Surveillance to Secondary Hospitals

Written by : Jayati Dubey

November 15, 2023

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Medical professionals can submit EOIs online for ICMR's antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance network expansion to secondary hospitals by December 16, 2023. The selection, including shortlisting, will conclude by January 17, 2023.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has extended an invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI) from medical professionals in tertiary care hospitals. This is to initiate a collaborative effort to expand the scope of its antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance network to encompass secondary-level hospitals. This move by the ICMR is a strategic step in intensifying the battle against the growing threat of AMR.

The ICMR underscores the pivotal role played by robust antimicrobial surveillance and the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs as effective interventions in combating the AMR crisis.

With a focus on addressing this pressing issue, the ICMR has launched the Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance and Research Network (AMRSN) and is working towards implementing AMS programs, particularly in tertiary care hospitals.

For medical professionals interested in contributing to this initiative, the ICMR has opened the platform for online submission of Expressions of Interest (EOIs), and the submission deadline is December 16, 2023. The selection process, including the crucial shortlisting phase, is anticipated to conclude by January 17, 2023.

As part of the eligibility criteria, the ICMR mandates that applicants, termed mentoring hospitals, must meet specific prerequisites. This includes the establishment of a functional Hospital Infection Control Committee (HICC) comprising essential members such as infectious disease physicians, infection control nurses, clinical microbiologists, pharmacists, and hospital administrators.

Active engagement in meetings, ongoing monitoring of hospital-acquired infection rates, and strict adherence to infection control practices are deemed imperative.

Moreover, the mentoring hospitals are required to maintain a well-established antibiotic stewardship team and have a functioning AMS program in place for the preceding three years.

The effectiveness of this program should be substantiated by evidence, including compliance with hospital antibiotic policies, the existence of updated policies, and consistent monitoring of antibiotic consumption for in-patient beds.

The EOI submission should comprehensively address a specific research question related to expanding the ICMR-AMR surveillance network, specifically targeting secondary-level hospitals. Applicants are expected to showcase their expertise in AMS implementation and provide evidence of proven proficiencies within their respective hospitals. Notably, the current call does not permit foreign collaboration.

The ICMR will meticulously evaluate EOI documents for technical accuracy and eligibility. Shortlisted teams will then collaborate to develop a detailed proposal under the guidance of the ICMR headquarters.

The assessment of these proposals will encompass factors such as study design, feasibility, the presence of established facilities, prior experience, and the potential contribution of valuable knowledge to the existing understanding of AMR.

ICMR's initiative, which releases annual trends of AMR in the country, reflects the ongoing commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance. This latest endeavour seeks to fortify the surveillance network, thereby reinforcing the collective efforts to combat the escalating threat of AMR, a critical issue with profound implications for global health.

In another development, just days back, ICMR introduced the Diagnostic Services in Healthcare (DISHA) portal, an initiative aimed at improving access to diagnostic healthcare facilities across the country.

The portal, titled "DISHA: Availability & Geo-mapping of Laboratory Services in India," offers the public valuable information on nearby diagnostic healthcare options, enabling individuals to make informed decisions regarding the type of facility, test availability, costs, and turnaround times.


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