An assessment of the current level of implementation of the core elements of antimicrobial stewardship programs in public hospitals in Ghana

Israel Abebrese Sefah, Sarentha Chetty, Peter Yamoah, Brian Godman, Varsha Bangalee

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Introduction: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is becoming a threat to global public health. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) program (ASP) is one of the 5 strategic areas in the Ghana National Action Plan to fight this menace. Assessment of the core elements of ASP in a hospital setting has been identified as a pragmatic way of identifying the barriers and facilitators for its effective implementation. Method: The World Health Organization’s toolkit for assessment of the 7 core elements of ASP in hospitals in low and middle income countries was used for this situational analysis of public hospitals in 2 regions of Ghana. The core elements included leadership commitment, accountability and responsibility, pharmacy expertize, AMS actions and interventions, education and training, and periodic monitoring and surveillance. Data collected using a checklist were imported into STATA version 14 for descriptive and bivariate analyses. Results: 15 public hospitals were assessed with the toolkit. Most of them were primary health care facilities (n = 12, 80.0%), had bed capacities between 100 and 199 beds, less than 50 medical doctors (n = 12, 80.0%), less than 5 pharmacists (n = 10, 66.7%), and between 100 and 199 nurses. Performances in 4 out of the 7 core elements were most deficient and they included leadership commitment, pharmacy expertize, AMS actions (interventions) implemented, monitoring and surveillance of antibiotic use, and bacteria resistance rates. Pharmacist-led ASPs were also found to be associated with their formal training on AMS. Key barriers identified included lack of skilled human resources, lack of available time for AMS-related duties and poor laboratory infrastructure. Conclusion: There was sub-optimal performance for almost all the core elements of ASP in the public hospitals in Ghana hampered mostly by lack of skilled human and financial resources. Pharmacists must be empowered through formal training and certificate programs in infectious disease management and AMS principles and strategies to enhance their contribution toward ASPs in hospitals. The results from this study should encourage nationwide assessment of ASPs across hospital settings in Ghana to better evaluate the level of their implementation and address potential barriers to guide AMS policies and ASP strategy development toward the fight against AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalHospital Pharmacy
Early online date15 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2024


  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • antimicrobial stewardship programme
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • national action plan
  • Ghana


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