Antibiotic Use An Urgent Health Risk


A pharmacist-driven programme that seeks to reduce the use of antibiotic has been launched in private hospitals.

A pharmacist-driven antibiotic programme at 47 of South Africa’s private hospitals has proved that the growing antibiotic resistance time bomb can be addressed by significantly reducing the use of antibiotics.

Dr Dena van den Bergh, the director of quality leadership at Netcare hospitals, said they were excited about the outcome of the programme, which had demonstrated that a meaningful reduction in antibiotic use could be achieved through a number of basic interventions.

Dr Van den Berg, who co-authored a research paper with local and international academic collaborators that was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, said the programme has achieved an 18% reduction in the consumption of antibiotics by in-hospital patients at the participating hospitals.

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“The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is considered to be one of the most urgent health risks both locally and internationally.

“While the study was conducted within our private hospital group and did not include public sector facilities, it does show that it is possible to achieve much greater control of antibiotic usage in a setting with limited infectious diseases specialists,” Van den Bergh said.

The antibiotic stewardship (ABS) programme, that was designed to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics, was conducted at the Netcare facilities between October 2009 and September 2014. The programme initially involved pharmacists in monitoring the use of antibiotics across intensive care units and thereafter in general medical and surgical wards.

It aimed to achieve at least a ten percent reduction in antimicrobial consumption and to introduce an effective ABS programme to the hospitals within the group.

“We found that 39% of the pharmacists’ interventions were for cases where antibiotic treatment was for an excessive duration, and it was in this area that we were able to achieve the most meaningful reduction in this initial work,” Van den Berg said.

Prof David Muckert and his colleagues of the KwaZulu-Natal University’s medicine department praised the programme in an article, saying the world faced the prospect of a post-antibiotic era in which simple infections would be untreatable.

“Reducing unnecessary prescriptions, limiting broad spectrum drugs to when absolutely necessary, and prudent use of drug combinations are crucial interventions,” they said.
According to the initiators of the Netcare programme, the work has now been embedded in pharmacy practices within the group’s hospitals and the initiatives are now a routine standard of care for all in-patients receiving antibiotics.


Source: The Citizen

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