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Background: Irrational and inappropriate antibiotic prescription is a worldwide phenomenon – increasing the threat of serious antibiotic resistance. A better understanding of health care providers’ knowledge, attitudes, and prescription practices related to antibiotics is essential for formulating effective antibiotics stewardship programmes. The aim of the present study was to assess knowledge, attitudes, and prescription practices toward antibiotics among health care providers.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted between March and June 2017 to assess knowledge, attitudes, and prescription practices toward antibiotics among health care providers in the Rombo district of northern Tanzania. A total of 217 health care providers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
Results: Over half of health care providers (n=111, 51.2%) strongly agreed that the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics puts patients at risk. More than half (n=112, 51.6%) reported that their decision to start antibiotic therapy was influenced by a patient’s clinical condition, while 110 (50.7%) reported they were influenced by positive microbiological results in symptomatic patients. Almost two-thirds of the health care providers (n=136, 62.7%) reported that they had access to and used antibiotic therapy guidelines. Less than a quarter (n=52, 24.0%) received regular training and education in antibiotic prescription practice in their work place.
Conclusion: Knowledge and prescription practice of antibiotics among health care providers was generally unsatisfactory. Training and education for health care providers is needed in the area of prescribing antibiotics.