Doctors prescribe excessive amount of antibiotics for children below five years in low and middle countries that resist the children’s ability to fight pathogens according to the study.
Gunther Fink, lead author of the study and head of the Household Economics and Health Systems Research Unit at Swiss TPH, said: “We knew children in LMICs are sick more often, and we knew antibiotic prescription rates are high in many countries. What we did not know was how these elements translate into actual antibiotic exposure–and the results are rather alarming.”
According to the WHO, antimicrobial resistance is considered as one of the global health and development threat. Excessive use of antibiotics is one of the factors contributing to that threat.
Children in mid-low countries often fall sick and when they are taken to the hospital, they would be prescribed with antibiotics.
Many studies showed that more than 90% of children who visit healthcare facility in Tanzania were prescribed antibiotics of which only 20% really require them.
Swiss TPH and Harvard Chan School research team analyzed data from 2007-2017 from health facilities and household surveys from eight countries: Haiti, Namibia, Nepal, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
According to the study, a child received 25 antibiotic prescription through age five on an average and two antibiotic prescriptions per year are considered excessive.
The results revealed that antibiotics were given in 81% of cases for children with respiratory problems, 50% in children with diarrhea and 28% with malarial patients.
The over consumption of antibiotics can show an impact on children’s health.
Valerie D’Acremont said: “Excess antibiotic use destroys the natural gut flora which is essential to fighting pathogens.”
The research team is trying to identify best practices to lower the prescribing of antibiotics at a country level.