Feasibility Study of the World Health Organization Health Care Facility-Based Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit for Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Antibiotics (Basel). 2020 Aug 29;9(9):556. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics9090556.


Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) has emerged as a systematic approach to optimize antimicrobial use and reduce antimicrobial resistance. To support the implementation of AMS programs, the World Health Organization developed a draft toolkit for health care facility AMS programs in low- and middle-income countries. A feasibility study was conducted in Bhutan, the Federated States of Micronesia, Malawi, and Nepal to obtain local input on toolkit content and implementation of AMS programs. This descriptive qualitative study included semi-structured interviews with national- and facility-level stakeholders. Respondents identified AMS as a priority and perceived the draft toolkit as a much-needed document to further AMS program implementation. Facilitators for implementing AMS included strong national and facility leadership and clinical staff engagement. Barriers included lack of human and financial resources, inadequate regulations for prescription antibiotic sales, and insufficient AMS training. Action items for AMS implementation included improved laboratory surveillance, establishment of a stepwise approach for implementation, and mechanisms for reporting and feedback. Recommendations to improve the AMS toolkit's content included additional guidance on defining the responsibilities of the committees and how to prioritize AMS programming based on local context. The AMS toolkit was perceived to be an important asset as countries and health care facilities move forward to implement AMS programs.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance; antimicrobial stewardship; barriers and enablers; low- and middle-income countries.