Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Egyptians towards antibiotic use in the community: can we do better?

Lina Maarouf, Mohamed Amin, Benjamin A. Evans, Alaa Abouelfetouh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Infectious diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. This is concerning because of the increasing capacity of the pathogens to develop antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic overuse and misuse remain the main drivers of resistance development. In the USA and Europe, annual campaigns raise awareness of antibiotic misuse hazards and promote their judicial use. Similar efforts are lacking in Egypt. This study assessed the knowledge of the public in Alexandria, Egypt of antibiotic misuse risks and their habits towards antibiotic use, in addition to conducting a campaign to increase awareness of the safe use of antibiotics.

Methods: A questionnaire assessing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards antibiotics was used to collect responses from study participants at various sports clubs in Alexandria in 2019. An awareness campaign to correct misconceptions and a post awareness survey followed.

Results: Most of the participants were well-educated (85%), in their middle age (51%) and took antibiotics last year (80%). 22% would take an antibiotic for common cold. This dropped to 7% following the awareness. There was a 1.6 time increase in participants who would start an antibiotic on a healthcare professional’s advice following the campaign. A 1.3 time increase in participants who would finish an antibiotic regimen was also observed. The campaign made all participants recognize that unwise antibiotic use is harmful to them or others; and 1.5 more participants would spread the word about antibiotic resistance. Despite learning of the risks of antibiotic use, there was no change in how often participants thought they should take antibiotics.

Conclusions: Although awareness of antibiotic resistance is rising, some wrong perceptions hold fast. This highlights the need for patient and healthcare-tailored awareness sessions as part of a structured and national public health program directed to the Egyptian population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2023

Keywords

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Awareness campaign, Educational intervention
  • Common cold
  • The theory of planned behaviour

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