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International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences (IJMRHS)
ISSN: 2319-5886 Indexed in: ESCI (Thomson Reuters)

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Abstract

Public Knowledge and Behaviours Regarding Antibiotics Use: A Survey among the General Public

Author(s):Khalil Y Abujheisha, Ramadan Al-Shdefat, Nehad Ahmed, and Mohammed I Fouda

Background: Antimicrobial resistance is associated with increased number of illness, mortality, and health care costs. The incorrect use, excessive prescription and prolonged administration of antibiotics are some factors which allow the growth of resistant bacteria leading to the emergence and spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Several studies about antibiotic use have shown that behaviour towards antibiotics differs among countries, depending on culture, habits, education, and health care organization. The aim of this pilot study was to inspect the attitudes and knowledge regarding antibiotics among the public in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional survey using a validated questionnaire was carried out from January to February 2017 within the public, including hospital attendees and patients come for a consultation at the Prince Sattam university hospital. A total of 670 participants were included in this study. They have been chosen using a suitable sampling method. Persons incorporated in this survey who were above 18 years old and familiar with the term “antibiotics”. Results: The majority of respondents get informed about the use of antibiotics from Pharmacists (79.94%), and Physicians (76.14%) and 50.3% (n=331) of the respondents reported using antibiotics six months before the survey. Regarding the source of antibiotics, (42.55%) of the respondents usually gets the antibiotics after a consultation with the doctor, while 53.8% declared that their antibiotics were acquired from a retail pharmacy and a few of them (3.65%) get the antibiotics from family and friends. The justification of participants for having antibiotics was mostly due to fever (41.34%) or respiratory infections (22.19%). About 33.5% stated that they did not complete the treatment course and the reason was they felt better. Almost 57% indicated that they had ever kept an antibiotic at home for emergency need while 28.57% use leftover antibiotics in case they needed them again if the same infection recurred. Regarding the knowledge about antibiotics, the highest correct response was antibiotics may cause allergic reactions (82.22%) followed by “antibiotics are used mainly for treating a bacterial infection”, as well as “unnecessary use of antibiotics cause bacterial resistance” (69.6% and 69.9 respectively). Regarding antibiotic resistance, knowledge was markedly increased: 66.5% of respondents understood that antibiotic resistance is a health problem worldwide. Conclusion: The results obtained in this survey demonstrate that there is a lot of room for improvement of patient’s knowledge and change in their behaviour towards antibiotics. These results may lay a basis for conducting a well-organized, planned, and structured educational program to upgrade the appropriate use of antibiotics by a collaboration of physicians, pharmacists, and the whole health care system.


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