Latest Trending Topic on the Compass - SBC for Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (2)

18 September, 2023

Dear Mouz Asfaw,

Thank you for your message a few days ago:

The Compass article makes several observations relevant to HIFA:

'One of the main drivers of AMR is the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in human medicine and the agricultural sector. Misuse and overuse in human medicine is driven by overprescribing by health providers, patients not completing the full course of prescribed medicines, and incorrect dosages...

'One of the drivers of AMR is a lack of awareness or understanding of how it arises and the magnitude of the problem it poses... the first objective of the global action plan highlights the importance of effective communication, education, and training to raise awareness and understanding of AMR...

'For myriad reasons, health care providers may default on following the guidelines for the prescription of antimicrobials, despite their knowledge about AMR and the availability of these guidelines...'

This last point is interesting. What are the relative contributions of lack of reliable and relevant information versus a wilful disregard for such information? To what extent are health workers knowingly harming their patients and knowingly contributing to the world's growing public health emergency that is AMR?

We know some of the reasons for overprescribing antibiotics. These include financial gain (whereby the health worker or their clinic profits whenever the health worker prescribes a medicine) - to what extent is this a driver as compared with other drivers? Another major reason is patient expectation, although this is clearly very closely related to patient misconceptions.

Best wishes, Neil

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: