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)