Ongoing strategies to improve the management of upper respiratory tract infections and reduce inappropriate antibiotic use particularly among lower and middle-income countries: findings and implications for the future

Brian Godman, Mainul Haque, Judy McKimm, Muhamad Abu Bakar, Jacqueline Sneddon, Janney Wale, Stephen Campbell, Antony P Martin, Iris Hoxha, Vafa Abilova, Bene D Anand Paramadhas, Pinkie Mpinda-Joseph, Matshediso Matome, Livia Lovato Pires de Lemos, Israel Sefah, Amanj Kurdi, Sylvia Opanga, Arianit Jakupi, Zikria Saleem, Mohamed Azmi HassaliDan Kibuule, Joseph Fadare, Tomasz Bochenek, Celia Rothe, Jurij Fürst, Vanda Markovic-Pekovic, Ljubica Bojanić, Natalie Schellack, Johanna C Meyer, Zinhle Matsebula, Thuy Nguyen Thi Phuong, Binh Nguyen Thanh, Saira Jan, Aubrey Kalungia, Sekesai Mtapuri-Zinyowera, Massimo Sartelli, Ruaraidh Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Antibiotics are indispensable to maintaining human health; however, their overuse has resulted in resistant organisms, increasing morbidity, mortality and costs. Increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health threat, resulting in multiple campaigns across countries to improve appropriate antimicrobial use. This includes addressing the overuse of antimicrobials for self-limiting infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), particularly in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where there is the greatest inappropriate use and where antibiotic utilization has increased the most in recent years. Consequently, there is a need to document current practices and successful initiatives in LMICs to improve future antimicrobial use. Methodology: Documentation of current epidemiology and management of URTIs, particularly in LMICs, as well as campaigns to improve future antimicrobial use and their influence where known. Results: Much concern remains regarding the prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics for URTIs among LMICs. This includes considerable self-purchasing, up to 100% of pharmacies in some LMICs. However, multiple activities are now ongoing to improve future use. These incorporate educational initiatives among all key stakeholder groups, as well as legislation and other activities to reduce self-purchasing as part of National Action Plans (NAPs). Further activities are still needed however. These include increased physician and pharmacist education, starting in medical and pharmacy schools; greater monitoring of prescribing and dispensing practices, including the development of pertinent quality indicators; and targeted patient information and health education campaigns. It is recognized that such activities are more challenging in LMICs given more limited resources and a lack of healthcare professionals. Conclusion: Initiatives will grow across LMICs to reduce inappropriate prescribing and dispensing of antimicrobials for URTIs as part of NAPs and other activities, and these will be monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-327
Number of pages27
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2020


  • antibiotics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • URTIs
  • self purchasing
  • health policies
  • ambulatory care
  • LMICs

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