A Narrative Review of Antibiotic Prescribing Practices in Primary Care Settings in South Africa and Potential Ways Forward to Reduce Antimicrobial Resistance

Audrey Chigome*, Nishana Ramdas, Phumzile Skosana, Aislinn Cook, Natalie Schellack, Stephen Campbell, Giulia Lorenzetti, Zikria Saleem, Brian Godman*, Johanna C. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are concerns with the current prescribing of antibiotics in both the private and public primary care settings in South Africa. These concerns need to be addressed going forward to reduce rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) rates in South Africa. Concerns include adherence to current prescribing guidelines. Consequently, there is a need to comprehensively summarise current antibiotic utilization patterns from published studies as well as potential activities to improve prescribing, including indicators and antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Published studies showed that there was an appreciable prescribing of antibiotics for patients with acute respiratory infections, i.e., 52.9% to 78% or more across the sectors. However, this was not universal, with appreciable adherence to prescribing guidelines in community health centres. Encouragingly, the majority of antibiotics prescribed, albeit often inappropriately, were from the ‘Access’ group of antibiotics in the AWaRe (Access/Watch/Reserve) classification rather than ‘Watch’ antibiotics to limit AMR. Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in primary care is not helped by concerns with current knowledge regarding antibiotics, AMR and ASPs among prescribers and patients in primary care. This needs to be addressed going forward. However, studies have shown it is crucial for prescribers to use a language that patients understand when discussing key aspects to enhance appropriate antibiotic use. Recommended activities for the future include improved education for all groups as well as regularly monitoring prescribing against agreed-upon guidelines and indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1540
JournalAntibiotics
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • South Africa
  • antibiotics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antimicrobial stewardship programs
  • primary care
  • quality indicators
  • treatment guidelines

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