Antibiotic prescribing patterns among healthcare professionals at Van Velden Memorial Hospital in Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Countries have come to place heavy reliance on antibiotics, a phenomena that has contributed to widespread resistant bacteria. Unless antibiotic prescribing patterns are kept in check, the spread of resistant bacteria will lead to a proliferation of dreadful diseases. In this study, antibiotic prescribing patterns at Van Velden Memorial Hospital (VVMH) were investigated to determine commonly prescribed antibiotics in the paediatric ward. The main aim of the study was to determine the antibiotic prescribing patterns amongst healthcare professionals in a paediatric ward at VVMH. The study adopted a cross-sectional research design whereby a census of patients who were admitted in the paediatric ward from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011 was conducted. The results show that most patients in the ward received at least two antibiotics during their stay in the ward. Ampicillin was found to be the most commonly prescribed antibiotic followed by gentamicin. Diarrhoea, bronchopneumonia and dehydration were amongst the most common conditions for which antibiotics were prescribed. In addition, most of the antibiotic treatment in the ward was empiric and did not depend on culture results as in most of the cases laboratory tests were not requested. The results of Chi-square tests indicate that, there was no relationship between any of the predicted variables (e.g., age, weight, etc.) and antibiotic prescribing. The study therefore concluded that health professionals’ antibiotic prescribing patterns has no relationship with any of the investigated variables. The findings have important policy implications for antibiotic stewardship in small rural and district hospitals.
Keywords: Antibiotic stewardship; prescribing patterns, ward protocol, standard treatment guidelines