Improving Access to Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidelines in 4 African Countries

28 December, 2020

Dear HIFA and HIFA-Zambia colleagues,

In 2019, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association notified HIFA of the launch of a new prescribing app in four countries, which provides easy access to infection management resources to improve appropriate use of antimicrobials in line with national and international guidelines. Below are the citation and abstract of a recent paper on this initiative in the journal Antibiotics.

CITATION: Olaoye O et al. Improving Access to Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidelines in 4 African Countries: Development and Pilot Implementation of an App and Cross-Sectional Assessment of Attitudes and Behaviour Survey of Healthcare Workers and Patients. Antibiotics (Basel). 2020 Sep; 9(9): 555.


Smartphone apps have proven to be an effective and acceptable resource for accessing information on antimicrobial prescribing. The purpose of the study is to highlight the development and implementation of a smartphone/mobile app (app) for antimicrobial prescribing guidelines (the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship—CwPAMS App) in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and to evaluate patients’ and healthcare providers’ perspectives on the use of the App in one of the participating institutions. Two structured cross-sectional questionnaires containing Likert scale, multiple-choice, and open-ended questions were issued to patients and healthcare workers six months after the introduction of the app at one of the hospital sites. Metrics of the use of the app for a one-year period were also obtained. Download and use of the app peaked between September and November 2019 with pharmacists accounting for the profession that the most frequently accessed the app. More than half of the responding patients had a positive attitude to the use of the app by health professionals. Results also revealed that more than 80% of health care workers who had used the CwPAMS App were comfortable using a smartphone/mobile device on a ward round, considered the app very useful, and found it to improve their awareness of antimicrobial stewardship, including documentation of the indication and duration for antimicrobials on the drug chart. It also encouraged pharmacists and nurses to challenge inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing. Overall, our findings suggest that its use as a guide to antimicrobial prescribing sparked positive responses from patients and health professionals. Further studies will be useful in identifying the long-term consequences of the use of the CwPAMS App and scope to implement in other settings, in order to guide future innovations and wider use.

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Best wishes, Neil

HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: