Antibiotic prescribing practice in management of cough and/or diarrhoea in Moshi Municipality, Northern Tanzania: cross-sectional descriptive study

  • JJ Gwimile
  • SA Shekalaghe
  • GN Kapanda
  • ER Kisanga
Keywords: Antibiotics use, irrational prescribing, antibiotic prescribing, pneumonia, cough, diarrhea, under-five


Introduction: The increase in resistance of many pathogens to currently available antibiotics has been recognized as life-threatening problem.
The development of drug resistance is promoted by irrational prescribing behavior. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is attributed by overprescription,
inadequate dosage and use for non-bacterial infections. The purpose of this study was to assess antibiotic prescribing practices in the management of diarrhoea and cough among children attending hospitals in Moshi municipal, Tanzania.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive hospital based study, from September 2010 to March 2011. All children presenting with diarrhoea and cough, aged between one month and 5years attended at the two hospitals were enrolled. Data were collected by a standard questionnaire. Information on the prescribed drugs was obtained from patient files. Results: A total of 384 children were enrolled. Of these, 326 (84.9%) received antibiotics; common prescribed antibiotics were penicillins, sulphonamides, aminoglycosides and macrolides. Eighty percent of children with acute watery diarrhoea and 68.9% with common cold were given antibiotics inappropriately. Inappropriate antibiotic prescription was significantly associated with prescriber being a clinical officer and assistant medical officer, and child having diarrhoea. Inappropriate antibiotic dosage was significantly occurred when prescriber was clinical officer with reference to medical officer.

Conclusion: This study observed a high antibiotic prescription rate by clinicians and treatment guidelines for management of patients who presented with cough and/or diarrhoea are followed. Continuing  professional development programmes for clinicians on prescription would help in reducing irrational prescribing practices.

Key words: Antibiotics use, irrational prescribing, antibiotic prescribing, pneumonia, cough, diarrhea, under-five


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eISSN: 1937-8688