Feasibility of using point prevalence surveys to assess antimicrobial utilisation in public hospitals in South Africa: a pilot study and implications

Nokuthula N. Dlamini, Johanna C. Meyer, Danie Kruger, Amanj Kurdi, Brian Godman, Natalie Schellack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: There is currently a lack of data regarding antimicrobial use among public hospitals in South Africa. This is a concern given their growing use and increasing antimicrobial resistance rates in South Africa. Consequently, the objectives of this study were to firstly determine the appropriateness of point prevalence survey (PPS) data collection instruments for performing antimicrobial utilization studies among public sector hospitals in South Africa; secondly, to determine current antimicrobial utilization in a public sector hospital, and thirdly evaluate the prescribing of antimicrobials with those contained within the national Essential Medicines List and Standard Treatment Guidelines (EML/STGs). The findings will be used to guide future activities in South Africa. METHODS: A PPS was conducted in Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital. For each in-patient ward, all patients' files were completely surveyed on a single day. The number of patients who were on antimicrobials served as the numerator and the denominator comprised the total number of patients in the ward. RESULTS: 39 wards and 512 patient files were surveyed. The overall prevalence of antimicrobial use was 37.7%, highest in the ICUs. Beta lactamase inhibitors and antimicrobials for tuberculosis were the most prevalent antimicrobials. More than two thirds (83%) of antimicrobial treatment was modified following culture sensitivity test results when requested, and 98% of antimicrobials prescribed were contained within the current EML/STGs. In 10.8% of occasions, antimicrobials appear to have been prescribed other than for treatment, i.e. no systemic infection. There were concerns though with the lack of IV to oral switching. CONCLUSION: The PPS method offers a standardized tool that can be used to identify targets for quality improvement. However, there were concerns with the time taken to conduct PPS studies, which is an issue in resource limited settings. This is being addressed alongside concerns with the lack of IV to oral switching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalHospital Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2019


  • antimicrobial utilisation
  • public hospitals
  • South Africa
  • antimicrobial resistance


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