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How can doctors help reduce antimicrobial resistance?

Doctors have a leading role in antimicrobial stewardship, educating patients about antimicrobial resistance, and improving prescription practices to save antibiotics for the future generations. The most beneficial actions a doctor can take include:

  • Implement appropriate prescription practices to ensure antibiotics are prescribed and dispensed correctly
  • Whenever available, use rapid point-of-care diagnostics to support clinical decisions and further develop where inadequacies persist.
  • Use preventative measures such as vaccines to protect patients from infections
  • Include environmental criteria in antibiotic procurement decisions
  • Support administrative policy changes to purchase food raised without routine antimicrobials
  • Improve sanitation in hospitals to prevent healthcare associated infections
  • Improve waste management to efficiently remove pharmaceuticals and microbes
  • Advise patients about the risks associated with antimicrobial therapy and use preventative measures when possible
  • Educate patients on the safe, recommended methods for disposing or returning unused antimicrobial drugs
  • Hand hygiene with soap or alcohol-based rub are key to protect patients from avoidable infections contracted in health-care settings and prevent the spread of AMR (WHO, 2017)
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