Snapshot of antimicrobial stewardship programs in the hospitals of Pakistan: findings and implications

Zikria Saleem, Mohamed Azimi Hassali, Furqan Khurshid Hashmi, Brian Godman, Zakkiudin Ahmed

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Objective: We are unaware of the extent of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) among hospitals in Pakistan, which is a concern given the population size, high use of antibiotics across sectors and increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) rates. Consequently, we sought to address this by undertaking a comprehensive survey. Method: In this cross-sectional observational study in Punjab, an instrument of the measure was developed based on health care facility characteristics and ASPs after an extensive literature review. The questionnaire was circulated by mail or through drop off surveys to medical superintendents or directors/heads of pharmacy departments of hospitals. Results: Out of 254, a total of 137 hospitals fully completed the questionnaire - 11 primary, 65 secondary, 46 tertiary and 15 specialized hospitals. The use of antimicrobial prescribing guidelines (68.7%), provision of infectious diseases consultation services (66.4%), clinical pharmacy service (65.7%), use of drug and therapeutics committees to approve antimicrobial prescribing (65.5%), regular audit by doctors on antimicrobial prescribing (54.1%) and use of a restricted formulary for antimicrobial (50.4%) were the most common ASPs. However, most of these activities were only somewhat or moderately successful. Whereas, electronic antimicrobial prescribing approval systems (15.3%), using a sticker to notify prescribers regarding the need to obtain approval for the antimicrobial prescribed (16.1%) and participation in the national antimicrobial utilization surveillance program (19.7%) were only seen in a few hospitals. Conclusion: Study inferred that there are inadequate ASPs in the hospitals of Pakistan. A multidisciplinary approach, clinical leadership and availability of motivated and trained individuals are essential elements for the success of future ASPs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02159
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019


  • antimicrobial stewardship programs
  • Pakistan
  • antimicrobial resistance

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