• Behavioural interventions to address rational use of antibiotics in outpatient settings of low‐income and lower‐middle‐income countries

      Nair, MM; Mahajan, E; Burza, S; Zeegers, MP (Wiley, 2021-01-16)
      Objectives To explore the current evidence on interventions to influence antibiotic prescribing behaviour of health professionals in outpatient settings in low‐income and lower‐middle‐income countries, an underrepresented area in the literature. Methods The systematic review protocol for this study was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42020170504). We searched PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for studies relating to antibiotic prescribing of health professionals in outpatient settings in low‐income and lower‐middle‐income countries. Behavioural interventions were classified as persuasive, enabling, restrictive, structural or bundle (mix of different interventions). In total, 3,514 abstracts were screened and 42 studies were selected for full‐text review, with 13 studies included in the final narrative synthesis. Results Of the 13 included studies, five were conducted in Vietnam, two in Sudan, two in Tanzania, two in India and two in Kenya. All studies were conducted in the outpatient or ambulatory setting: eight took place in primary health centres, two in private clinics and three in pharmacies. Our review found that enabling or educational interventions alone may not be sufficient to overcome the ingrained incentives to link revenue generation to sales of antibiotics, and hence, their inappropriate prescription or misuse. Bundle interventions appear to be very effective at changing prescription behaviour among healthcare providers, including drug sellers and pharmacists. Conclusions Multi‐faceted bundle interventions that combine regulation enforcement with face‐to‐face education and peer influence may be more effective than educational interventions alone at curbing inappropriate antibiotic use.
    • “Without antibiotics, I cannot treat”: A qualitative study of antibiotic use in Paschim Bardhaman district of West Bengal, India

      Nair, M; Tripathi, S; Mazumdar, S; Mahajan, R; Harshana, A; Pereira, A; Jimenez, C; Halder, D; Burza, S (Public Library of Science, 2019-06-27)
      Background Misuse of antibiotics is a well-known driver of antibiotic resistance. Given the decentralized model of the Indian health system and the shortage of allopathic doctors in rural areas, a wide variety of healthcare providers cater to the needs of patients in urban and rural settings. This qualitative study explores the drivers of antibiotic use among formal and informal healthcare providers as well as patients accessing care at primary health centers across Paschim Bardhaman district in West Bengal. Materials and methods We conducted 28 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with four groups of healthcare providers (allopathic doctors, informal health providers, nurses, and pharmacy shopkeepers) as well as patients accessing care at primary health centers and hospitals across Paschim Bardhaman district. Qualitative data was analyzed using the framework method in an inductive and deductive manner. Results Our results indicate that patients demand antibiotics from healthcare providers and seek the fastest cure possible, which influences the prescription choices of healthcare providers, particularly informal health providers. Many allopathic doctors provide antibiotics without any clinical indication due to inconsistent follow up, lack of testing facilities, risk of secondary infections, and unhygienic living conditions. Pharmaceutical company representatives actively network with informal health providers and formal healthcare providers alike, and regularly visit providers even in remote areas to market newer antibiotics. Allopathic doctors and informal health providers frequently blame the other party for being responsible for antibiotic resistance, and yet both display interdependence in referring patients to one another. Conclusions A holistic approach to curbing antibiotic resistance in West Bengal and other parts of India should focus on strengthening the capacity of the existing public health system to deliver on its promises, improving patient education and counseling, and including informal providers and pharmaceutical company representatives in community-level antibiotic stewardship efforts.