Research

Antimicrobial stewardship in the Western Cape: A situational analysis of existing facility-level initiatives

S M Peters, S Sheik, J L Werner, M-A Davies, B Willems

Abstract


Background. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing problem worldwide. With the current occurrence of pan-resistant bacterial infections and a paucity of novel antimicrobials in development, the world has entered a post-antibiotic era, in which previously treatable, common infections can become fatal. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS), defined as ‘co-ordinated interventions to ensure appropriate and rational use of antimicrobials’, aims to decrease rates of AMR.

Objectives. To co-ordinate AMS in Western Cape Province. The National Department of Health (NDoH) has identified AMS as a key strategic objective, and the Western Cape has formed a provincial AMS committee. However, not much is known regarding current AMS activities in health facilities in the province.

Methods. A self-administered, email questionnaire was sent to specific staff at all district, regional and tertiary hospitals in the 6 health districts of the Western Cape – 47 facilities in total, of which 35 (74.4%) responded. Respondents included pharmacists, managers, doctors, nurses, infection prevention and control practitioners, as well as quality assurance practitioners. The number of facilities implementing AMS were determined, as well as the composition of AMS committees and the nature and frequency of team activities. Barriers to facility-level AMS were explored. Support and outreach activities were assessed, as well as facilities’ needs and expectations of the provincial AMS committee.

Results. Approximately half of all responding hospitals (n=19; 54.3%) had active AMS committees. Double the proportion of metropolitan (83.3%) than rural facilities (39.1%) had committees. Stewardship activities included antimicrobial prescription chart reviews and audits, AMS ward rounds, antimicrobial restriction policies and training. Most committees included a pharmacist and an infection prevention and control practitioner. More than a third of hospitals (36.1%) did not review their antimicrobial consumption data on a regular basis. Just over half of the hospitals (n=18; 51.4%) did not review AMR patterns.

Conclusions. Despite the need for effective AMS, there is limited information on AMS in South Africa. Most assistance is required in rural areas and smaller hospitals with low numbers of staff and greater numbers of transient rotating junior staff. Information management support, multidisciplinary teamwork and clinical governance are required to enable regular and ongoing AMS in facilities. Rural and smaller facilities require greater support to establish effectively functioning AMS committees.


Authors' affiliations

S M Peters, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town; and Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; Health Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

S Sheik, Health Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

J L Werner, Health Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

M-A Davies, Health Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

B Willems, Health Impact Assessment Unit, Department of Health, Western Cape Government, Cape Town; Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Antibiotic; Antimicrobial; Stewardship; Rational prescribing

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(5):421-425. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i5.14645

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-04-30
Date published: 2021-04-30

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