India’s Superbug Killing Thousands of Newborn Babies

baabyIn the last year, 58,000 newborn babies died of bacterial infections in India. Infants that acquire bacterial infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis are treated with antibiotics in India, but these antibiotics are no longer working. Indian pediatricians are scrambling to find ways to keep their neonatal patients alive. Why are the antibiotics no longer working?

For years the health sector has warned India of the implications their unsanitary conditions would have on their citizens. For these reasons bacterial infections spread rapidly throughout the country. There is very little regulation enforced on environmental and hygiene conditions. Large companies, for decades, have been dumping hazardous chemicals into the main water systems. Garbage litters the roads and soot engines pollute the air. It is amazing people can live in such deplorable conditions.

Why do still half the Indian people live in such squalor in the 21st century? A large part of the problem lies in India’s infrastructure not being able to accommodate the population. India has the 2nd largest population in the world, only outdone by China. With so many people, it is hard to provide basic needs like food and shelter for their people, never mind educate the masses to practice good hygiene skills. The task before the government is enormous.

The government as a band aid solution in the short run has been providing its citizens with antibiotics in place of public toilets and clean drinking water. The problem with this approach is it does not solve the underlying problem of diminishing the bacteria. Now it has created a second wave problem for the country. The quick fix solution of handing out antibiotics to Indians like they are candy, has only caused overuse of the antibiotics and led the bacteria to build resistance to the antibiotics. Pregnant women with bacterial infections are unknowingly spreading the bacteria to their babies. Unfortunately, the undeveloped immune systems of newborns are not strong enough to fight off these bacterial infections.

The Indian government realizing their band aid solution has caused more harm than good, is now making the initiatives to build public bathrooms for its citizens and place more emphasis on cleaner drinking water. Unfortunately even with these initiatives, it will take decades before the country can see environmental and sanitary improvements for the country. This provides no comfort for the mothers grieving over the lost of their babies.

 

References:

“Population of All Countries of the World / All National Populations Largest to Smallest – Worldatlas.com.” Population of All Countries of the World / All National Populations Largest to Smallest – Worldatlas.com. Accessed January 5, 2015.

Harris, Gardiner. “‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas Threat.” The New York Times. December 3, 2014. Accessed January 5, 2015.

 

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