Improving antibiotic prescribing for children in the resource-poor setting

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Mar;79(3):446-55. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12320.


Antibiotics are a critically important part of paediatric medical care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where infectious diseases are the leading cause of child mortality. The World Health Organization estimates that >50% of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately and that half of all patients do not take their medicines correctly. Given the rising prevalence of antimicrobial resistance globally, inappropriate antibiotic use is of international concern, and countries struggle to implement basic policies promoting rational antibiotic use. Many barriers to rational paediatric prescribing in LMICs persist. The World Health Organization initiatives, such as 'Make medicines child size', the Model List of Essential Medicines for Children and the Model Formulary for Children, have been significant steps forward. Continued strategies to improve access to appropriate drugs and formulations, in conjunction with improved evidence-based clinical guidelines and dosing recommendations, are essential to the success of such initiatives on both a national and an international level. This paper provides an overview of these issues and considers future developments that may improve LMIC antibiotic prescribing.

Keywords: antimicrobial pharmacotherapy; paediatrics; resistance; resource-poor setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Child
  • Counterfeit Drugs / supply & distribution
  • Developing Countries*
  • Drug Costs
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Drugs, Generic / supply & distribution
  • Global Health
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Services / economics
  • Pharmaceutical Services / standards*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / trends
  • World Health Organization


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Counterfeit Drugs
  • Drugs, Generic