The economic impact of AMR

The last few years have been rough for Momipal. Having already been hospitalized several times and treated with antibiotics for multiple infections, she is now back in hospital again with yet another infection, and it’s not just affecting her health, but also her wealth.

“My life is getting ruined,” she says. “I cannot attend to my family,” says Momipal.

Although much of her treatment is covered by Mediclaim health insurance, there are specific parts of her treatment that are not covered, and so that is leading to out-of-pocket expenditures. This additional economic pressure is being compounded by the fact that her husband has not been able to go to work for the last seven days, she explains.

For a growing number of people like Momipal, this is the grim reality of drug-resistant infections. This global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis is now already one of the world’s biggest killers, but over the coming decade it also threatens to push 24 million more people like Momipal into medical impoverishment.

For Momipal it began when she was treated for a non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection. Then she developed a lower respiratory tract infection, followed by rhinovirus and then Covid pneumonia. Now doctors suspect fungal pneumonia.

“Things are not looking great for her,” says Soumyadip Chatterji, a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, who has been treating Momipal for the last two years for her multiple infections. “Her treatment is getting interrupted, and she’s had a lot of suffering. Time and money has been spent.”

But Momipal has not given up hope of making a full recovery, both medically and financially. “I want to have a peaceful family life with my husband, son and daughter-in-law, and I want to travel,” she says.


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