A Narrative Review of Recent Antibiotic Prescribing Practices in Ambulatory Care in Tanzania: Findings and Implications

Amos Massele*, Anastasia Martin Rogers, Deogratias Gabriel, Ashura Mayanda, Sarah Magoma, Aislinn Cook, Audrey Chigome, Giulia Lorenzetti, Johanna C. Meyer, Catrin E. Moore, Brian Godman*, Omary Minzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: There are concerns with the current prescribing practices of antibiotics in ambulatory care in Tanzania, including both the public and private sectors. These concerns need to be addressed as part of the national action plan (NAP) of Tanzania to reduce rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) rates. Issues and concerns include high rates of prescribing of antibiotics for essentially self-limiting conditions. Consequently, there is a need to address this. As a result, the aims of this narrative review were to comprehensively summarize antibiotic utilization patterns particularly in ambulatory care and their rationale in Tanzania and to suggest ways forward to improve future prescribing practices. Materials and Methods: We undertook a narrative review of recently published studies and subsequently documented potential activities to improve future prescribing practices. Potential activities included instigating quality indicators and antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Results: Published studies have shown that antibiotics are being excessively prescribed in ambulatory care in Tanzania, in up to 95% to 96.3% of presenting cases depending on the sector. This is despite concerns with their appropriateness. High rates of antibiotic prescribing are not helped by variable adherence to current treatment guidelines. There have also been concerns with extensive prescribing of ‘Watch’ antibiotics in the private sector. Overall, the majority of antibiotics prescribed across the sectors, albeit inappropriately, were typically from the ‘Access’ group of antibiotics in the AWaRe (Access/Watch/Reserve) classification rather than ‘Watch’ antibiotics to limit AMR. The inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in ambulatory care is linked to current knowledge regarding antibiotics, AMR, and ASPs among both prescribers and patients. Recommended activities for the future include improved education for all groups, the instigation of updated quality indicators, and the regular monitoring of prescribing practices against agreed-upon guidelines and indicators. Education for healthcare professionals on ASPs should start at undergraduate level and continue post qualification. Community advocacy on the rational use of antibiotics should also include social media activities to dispel misinformation. Conclusion: The quality of current prescribing practices of antibiotics in ambulatory care is sub-optimal in Tanzania. This needs to be urgently addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2195
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • AWaRe classification
  • Tanzania
  • ambulatory care
  • antibiotic prescribing practices
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antimicrobial stewardship programs
  • national action plans
  • quality indicators


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