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Exploring the discord between pharmacy education and practice in antimicrobial stewardship

Devina Chetty
Stephanie Leigh-de Rapper


Background: Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is a critical global intervention aimed at optimising antimicrobial use and decreasing antimicrobial  resistance (AMR) with pharmacists playing a pivotal role within AMS teams. However, AMS is not comprehensively taught in pharmacy curricula and little  is known about the relevance of pharmacists’ training to meet AMS needs in South Africa.

Aim: This study aimed to explore the attitudes, knowledge and perceptions of clinical pharmacists towards AMS participation and training in South Africa. 

Setting: This study was conducted among clinically practicing pharmacists in public and private healthcare sectors in South Africa.

Methods: A  quantitative exploratory research design was selected for this study. The study was conducted using a self-administered structured survey. Categorical  variables were analysed using simple descriptive statistics. Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests were applied to determine differences between  variables.

Results: Pharmacists demonstrated good attitudes knowledge and perceptions towards AMS (median 4.3). There was statistical significant  differences in AMS participation between pharmacists of different years of experience (p = 0.005), sector of employment (p = 0.01), position of  employment (p = 0.015) and presence of AMS programmes (p = 0.004). Pharmacists indicated that their Bachelor of Pharmacy undergraduate studies  inadequately prepared them for their role in AMS (median 4.3).

Conclusion: Pharmacists show positive attitudes, knowledge and perceptions towards  AMS. Education and training in AMS principles is obtained through master’s programmes, short courses, Continued Professional Development (CPDs) and  workshops and insufficiently incorporated in undergraduate programmes.

Contribution: This study confirms that undergraduate pharmacy  programmes inadequately prepare pharmacists for their role in AMS. 

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848