Ongoing efforts to improve antimicrobial utilization in hospitals among African countries and implications for the future

Saleem, Zikria and Godman, Brian and Cook, Aislinn and Khan, Muhammad Arslan and Campbell, Stephen M. and Seaton, Ronald Andrew and Siachalinga, Linda and Haseeb, Abdul and Amir, Afreenish and Kurdi, Amanj and Mwita, Julius C. and Sefah, Israel Abebrese and Opanga, Sylvia A. and Fadare, Joseph O. and Ogunleye, Olayinka O. and Meyer, Johanna C. and Massele, Amos and Kibuule, Dan and Kalungia, Aubrey C. and Shahwan, Moyad and Nabayiga, Hellen and Pichierri, Giuseppe and Moore, Catrin E. (2022) Ongoing efforts to improve antimicrobial utilization in hospitals among African countries and implications for the future. Antibiotics, 11 (12). 1824. ISSN 2079-6382 (

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There are serious concerns with rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across countries increasing morbidity, mortality and costs. These concerns have resulted in a plethora of initiatives globally and nationally including national action plans (NAPs) to reduce AMR. Africa is no exception, especially with the highest rates of AMR globally. Key activities in NAPs include gaining a greater understanding of current antimicrobial utilization patterns through point prevalence surveys (PPS) and subsequently instigating antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Consequently, there is a need to comprehensively document current utilization patterns among hospitals across Africa coupled with ASP studies. In total, 33 PPS studies ranging from single up to 18 hospitals were documented from a narrative review with typically over 50% of in-patients prescribed antimicrobials, up to 97.6% in Nigeria. The penicillins, ceftriaxone and metronidazole, were the most prescribed antibiotics. Appreciable extended prescribing of antibiotics up to 6 days or more post-operatively was seen across Africa to prevent surgical site infections. At least 19 ASPs have been instigated across Africa in recent years to improve future prescribing utilizing a range of prescribing indicators. The various findings resulted in a range of suggested activities that key stakeholders, including governments and healthcare professionals, should undertake in the short, medium and long term to improve future antimicrobial prescribing and reduce AMR across Africa.