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Antibiotics (Basel)


Background: Antimicrobial resistance causes significant disease burden in low- and middle-income countries. The objective of this paper is to describe antibiotic dispensing/prescribing practices and underlying factors associated with these practices among community-based healthcare workers.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey data were collected from private and public health facilities in 14 union councils, Lahore Pakistan. Respondents included physicians, nurses, lady health workers/volunteers, midwives, pharmacy and medicine shop employees, and medical technicians. Descriptive and bivariate analysis are used to present the data.

Results: 177 respondents completed the survey. In terms of weekly dispensing of antibiotics, the most common were Amoxicillin/Augmentin (2.3 [SD 1.5]), Cefixine (2.4 [SD 1.6]), and Azithromycin (2.5 [SD 2.1]). For children, antibiotics were more likely to be prescribed/dispensed for sore throat (54.3%/95) and diarrhea (48.9%/86). For adults, antibiotics were more likely to be prescribed/dispensed for sore throat (67.0%/118), diarrhea (59.7%/105) and burning sensation when urinating (55.7%/176). In total, 55.4% of respondents stated that they have sold partial antibiotic courses to patients/customers. A total of 44.6% of respondents incorrectly answered that antibiotics could be used for viral infections.

Conclusions: Data from this study and similar research emphasize the urgent need to implement community-based stewardship programs for all healthcare workers.

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