WHO: Lack of new antibiotics threatens global efforts to contain drug-resistant infections (4) How to improve prescribing of antibiotics in LMICs

19 January, 2020

Dear Neil and friends, I've been working as pediatrician in 6 African countries and 2 of Asia. For many years, in rural and urban settings, public or private including non for profit ones.

The picture is the same all over: 80 to 90% of children (under 10ys) are treated with an antibiotic. Whatever antibiotic, preferably sophysticated & expensive one since more profit is gained from the selling. Indeed the practice of selling drugs by the same clinic where they were prescribed 'affect' all countries I met. Yet nothing is done to change this 'horror'.

Now my point: the reason of this letter.

WHO never indicated or recommanded the ideal percent not to be exceeded.

I ask you and friends of HIFA: are you aware of this percent?

I ask WHO in the person of any HIFA member: are you aware of this percent?

20 is the percent that I never exceeded, working under any circumstances, i.e in settings with or without laboratory, rural or urban, poor or rich areas. Yes, I am a pediatrician and more confident than a clinical officer, however maintaining 80-90% is a nonsense approach.

I think that WHO should show the way.

I think that governments of ANY country ( not only in Africa so) should pretend from doctors/prescribers to prescribe antibiotics well below 40% and never-never exceed that.

Can I ask a representative of WHO to give me an answer?

Greetings from Ikonda/Tanzania


HIFA profile: Massimo Serventi is a long-standing Pediatrician working in Africa since 1982. He currently works on a volunteer basis in an excellent missionary/credited hospital in north Uganda, St. Mary's Hospital-Lacor-GULU. He has worked for several NGOs in 6 African/2 Asian countries. His interests include clinical and community pediatrics, adherence to clinical guidelines and school education as the major determinant of good health. massimoser20 AT gmail.com