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How do we overcome the problem of AMR at the community level?

  • Rational use of antibiotics: often, patients will not be prescribed or take the adequate antimicrobials (e.g. because of misdiagnosis, no diagnosis done, using previously bought antibiotics etc.), which is a significant contributor to AMR. There is a need for public and professional education on the adequate and rational use of antimicrobials.
  • Over-the-counter antibiotics: buying antibiotics over-the-counter, without medical advice, is an ideal breeding ground for AMR. Their use has been reported to vary from 3% in Northern Europe studies to 100% in African studies (Morgan et al., 2011). There needs to be an urgent development of further regulatory control over these over-the-counter antibiotics.
  • Guidelines for the use of antibiotics at local levels: when planning a treatment strategy that involves antimicrobials it is important to understand which pathogens are most common in your community and whether they have exhibited any signs of resistance in the past.
  • Standards of hygiene: when dealing with infections, whether as a professional, patient or household member, hygiene standards need to be stressed to prevent the spread of microbes (e.g. alcohol-based hand rubs).