Implications of antibiotic exposure among children in low-income and middle income countries

Olaru, Ioana D. and Kibuule, Dan and Godman, B (2020) Implications of antibiotic exposure among children in low-income and middle income countries. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 20 (2). pp. 146-147. ISSN 1473-3099

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    Abstract

    Günther Fink and colleagues are to be congratulated for their analysis of antibiotic exposure among children younger than 5 years in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) with a range of common illnesses, including cough, fever, diarrhoea, and malaria.1 The authors explain that their study1 is the first to use a robust method to comprehensively quantify cumulative antibiotic exposure among children in LMICs by obtaining nationally representative data from surveys of households and formal-sector health-care facilities. Quantifying exposure is important, as previous surveys have only had limited coverage in low-income settings, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries, which have the highest incidence of infectious diseases globally.2,3 However, quantifying true antibiotic use in LMICs might be difficult if antibiotics are frequently purchased without a prescription due to issues with affordability and access. Obtaining antibiotics in this way accounts for up to 93% of all antibiotics dispensed in some LMICs.4,5 The remaining 7% or more include antibiotics obtained from ambulatory care and inpatient hospital care.2 Antimicrobial resistance is a growing public