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Background: Antibiotic resistance is a major public health concern. The Emergency department (ED) is the community gate for healthcare where antibiotics are often prescribed. However, there is a paucity of data regarding antibiotic prescription
practices in Africa.
Objectives: To describe the use of antibiotics in an ED and level of prescribing adherence to national guidelines.
Methods: Retrospective observational study of antibiotic practice in ED. All patients who presented to ED during the study period and were prescribed an anti-microbial agent were included. Data on demographics, working diagnosis, anti-microbial
prescribed, dose, route and prescriber level were used to provide descriptive statistics of these parameters.
Results: We identified 195 (13.4%) patients who received anti-microbial therapy among 1454 charts reviewed. The mean age was 34.8 with male predominance. The most common indication identified was abscess in 37 (30.8%) patients and in general surgical conditions had the highest rate of antimicrobials prescribed at 54.3%. In addition, co-amoxiclav was the most commonly prescribed anti-microbial (72.15%). We found that combination therapy was not common practice in ED, with majority of the patients having received single anti-microbial therapy (87.18%). The appropriateness of antimicrobial prescriptions was (46.2%) and not statistically significant (P = 0.654).
Conclusion: The most commonly prescribed anti-microbial was co amoxiclav and the most common indication was abscess. It was found that antibiotic prescription appropriateness was acceptable when compared to studies conducted in developed
countries. However, further research within other hospital departments will add to the study to determine the adherence as an institution rather than the Emergency department alone, as antimicrobial resistance is a major global healthcare problem
and impacts patient care throughout the care pathway.
Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; antibiotic stewardship; emergency department.