Ongoing strategies to improve antimicrobial utilization in hospitals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) : findings and implications

Haseeb, Abdul and Saleem, Zikria and Maqadmi, Aseel Fayk and Allehyani, Roaa Abdulrahman and Mahrous, Ahmad J. and Elrggall, Mahmoud E. and Kamran, Sairah Hafeez and AlGethamy, Manal and Naji, Asem Saleh and AlQarni, Abdullmoin and Alhariqi, Khalid W. and Khan, Muhammad Arslan and Ibrahim, Kiran and Raees, Fahad and Azmat, Aisha and Cook, Aislinn and Campbell, Stephen M. and Lorenzetti, Giulia and Meyer, Johanna C. and Godman, Brian and Moore, Catrin E. (2023) Ongoing strategies to improve antimicrobial utilization in hospitals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) : findings and implications. Antibiotics, 12 (5). 827. ISSN 2079-6382 (

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasing global concern, increasing costs, morbidity, and mortality. National action plans (NAPs) to minimize AMR are one of several global and national initiatives to slow down rising AMR rates. NAPs are also helping key stakeholders understand current antimicrobial utilization patterns and resistance rates. The Middle East is no exception, with high AMR rates. Antibiotic point prevalence surveys (PPS) provide a better understanding of existing antimicrobial consumption trends in hospitals and assist with the subsequent implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). These are important NAP activities. We examined current hospital consumption trends across the Middle East along with documented ASPs. A narrative assessment of 24 PPS studies in the region found that, on average, more than 50% of in-patients received antibiotics, with Jordan having the highest rate of 98.1%. Published studies ranged in size from a single to 18 hospitals. The most prescribed antibiotics were ceftriaxone, metronidazole, and penicillin. In addition, significant postoperative antibiotic prescribing lasting up to five days or longer was common to avoid surgical site infections. These findings have resulted in a variety of suggested short-, medium-, and long-term actions among key stakeholders, including governments and healthcare workers, to improve and sustain future antibiotic prescribing in order to decrease AMR throughout the Middle East.