First-of-its kind survey reveals gaps in European healthcare workers' knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics

25 November, 2019

The message below is forwarded from the LRC Network with thanks to HIFA Country Representative Irina Ibraghimova. Extracts and a comment from me below.

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First-of-its kind survey reveals gaps in European healthcare workers’ knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/first-its-kind-survey-reveals-...

A recent study by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shed light on the widespread knowledge of healthcare professionals on antimicrobial resistance.

Healthcare workers from all EU/EEA countries participated in the online study, Survey of healthcare workers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, EU/EEA, 2019 , which included 43 questions. The objective was to gain a better understanding of healthcare workers' capabilities, opportunities and motivations around prudent antibiotic use in order to support future policy, education and communication interventions.

To test knowledge about antibiotic resistance related to human health, the 18,365 survey participants were asked seven true/false knowledge questions. Across the EU/EEA, only 58% of the respondents were able to answer all seven questions correctly. There was considerable variation in scores, depending on country and profession.

To test knowledge of antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, healthcare workers were asked seven true or false knowledge questions.

Across the EU/EEA, only 58% of respondents were able to answer all seven knowledge questions correctly, with an average score of 6.35/7.

Scores varied significantly across countries (range 40-73%) and professions (range 29-68%).

Survey of healthcare workers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours on antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in the EU/EEA

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/survey-of-healt...

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SELECTED EXTRACTS

'Healthcare workers have, in general, a good knowledge and awareness of several key concepts regarding antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, with 97% of respondents correctly identifying that antibiotics are not effective against colds and flu. This is significantly higher than among the general public, of whom only just over half know that antibiotics are ineffective against colds.

'However, among healthcare workers with direct patient or public involvement, 25% reported that they do not have easy access to guidance on infection management, and 33% do not have easy access to materials for advice on prudent antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. This suggests that more investment is needed in producing and disseminating locally adapted guidance, resources and toolkits aimed at healthcare workers...

'Although the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, particularly in human health, is a multifactorial issue, a lack of understanding, clarity and knowledge about prudent antibiotic use and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a key driver of antibiotic resistance.'

COMMENT (Neil PW): Yet again, we see that prescribers - even in high-income countries of Europe - lack access to guidance on prudent antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.

As WHO has said: 'Globally, most prescribers receive most of their prescribing information from the pharmaceutical industry and in many countries this is the only information they receive.’ World Medicines Report, WHO.

Again, we have the low-hanging fruit - lack of access to reliable information - that funders fail to see. Nobody is getting to grips with this issue. There are many individual projects such as the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association's new Antibiotic Stewardship Programme, but in general efforts remain fragmented and have limited impact. One step forward could be to make a high-quality prescribing guide freely available to everyone online, and as an offline app. It is really important that such a resource provides guidance on selection, such as that provided by the British National Formulary, and not simply information about individual medicines.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines - Supported by Nagasaki University and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science http://www.hifa.org/projects/prescribers-and-users-medicines

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org