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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905
EISSN: 1680-6905
Vol. 20, No. 3, 2020, pp. 1133-1142
Bioline Code: hs20087
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Health Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 3, 2020, pp. 1133-1142

 en Unnecessary antimicrobial prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections in children in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Mathibe, Lehlohonolo John & Zwane, Nonhle Perseverance


Background: Acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are contagious diseases of the upper airways, but they are self-limiting in nature. Therefore, antimicrobial-use for the majority of the URTIs is considered inappropriate. Unfortunately, globally, antimicrobials are still being prescribed for the treatment of URTIs, especially in children. However, there is insufficient evidence on the causes of this phenomenon in South Africa.
Objective: To investigate whether the parents/guardians accompanying children with URTIs expected/influenced physicians and/or nurses to prescribe antibiotics.
Methods: This was a prospective descriptive and explorative questionnaire-based study. Participants were guardians who accompanied children aged five years and below, diagnosed with acute URTIs.
Findings: Three hundred and six parents/guardians participated in this study. Seventy six percent (n=233) of participants received antibiotics for URTIs for their children, and 67% (n=156) of these did not make requests for antimicrobial therapy. On overall, there was a statistically significant (p < 0.0001) chance (with OR of 5.9; 95% CI, 2.4 – 14.2) for receiving antibiotics for URTIs without a request.
Conclusion: Physicians and other healthcare providers need education on rational prescribing of antimicrobials, and to implement evidence-based standard treatment guidelines, to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in children with self-limiting URTIs.

Antibiotics; antimicrobials; prescribing; upper respiratory tract infections; children.

© Copyright 2020 - Mathibe LJ et al.

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