The Impact of Healthcare Providers’ Knowledge on Appropriate Prescribing of Antibiotics
Background: In-depth knowledge of antibiotic principles is widely considered a necessary condition for appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. The study aimed at determining the impact of healthcare providers’ level of knowledge in bacteriology and principles of antibiotic prescribing on their abilities to prescribe antibiotics appropriately.
Methods: A structured questionnaire survey targeting all doctors, nurses and healthcare providers within Health Service Areas abounding and including five selected public hospitals in Lesotho was carried out. The questionnaire tested respondents’ knowledge in bacteriology of infections and principles of antibiotic prescribing. Relevant data on antibiotic prescriptions were also collected concurrently with the survey. Data were analysed to establish respondents’ level of knowledge and the influence of same on their abilities to prescribe antibiotics appropriately.
Results: In inpatient and outpatient departments, 53.3% and 62.5% of respondents demonstrated inadequate levels of knowledge in the bacteriology and treatment of infections, respectively. Of the prescriptions analysed, 57.0% in the inpatient department and 19.1% in the outpatient department were classified as inappropriate. Appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions was positively associated with healthcare providers’ level of knowledge in inpatient but not outpatient settings.
Conclusion: A majority of healthcare providers appear to lack sufficient knowledge in bacteriology of infections and principles of antibiotic prescribing. In respect to antibiotic prescribing among inpatients but not outpatients the study demonstrated a positive correlation between healthcare providers’ knowledge and their abilities to prescribe antibiotics appropriately.
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