Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) compromises global health due to the associated morbidity, mortality, and costs. The inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents is a prime driver of AMR. Consequently, it is imperative to gain a greater understanding of current utilization patterns especially in high-risk groups including neonates and children. A point prevalence survey (PPS) was conducted among three tertiary care children’s hospitals in the Punjab province using the World Health Organization (WHO) methodology. Antibiotic use was documented according to the WHO AWaRe classification. Out of a total of 1576 neonates and children, 1506 were prescribed antibiotics on the day of the survey (prevalence = 95.5%), with an average of 1.9 antibiotics per patient. The majority of antibiotics were prescribed in the medical ward (75%), followed by surgical ward (12.8%). Furthermore, 56% of antibiotics were prescribed prophylactically, with most of the antibiotics (92.3%) administered via the parenteral route. The top three indications for antibiotics were respiratory tract infections (34.8%), gastrointestinal infections (15.8%), and prophylaxis for medical problems (14.3%). The three most common antibiotics prescribed were ceftriaxone (25.8%), amikacin (9.2%), and vancomycin (7.9%). Overall, 76.6% of the prescribed antibiotics were from Watch category followed by 21.6% from the Access group. There was a very high prevalence of antibiotic use among hospitalized neonates and children in this study. Urgent measures are needed to engage all the stakeholders to formulate effective ASPs in Pakistan, especially surrounding Watch antibiotics.
- AWaRe classification
- point prevalence survey