INTRODUCTION: Antibiotic over-prescription is a global public health problem. This leads to increased antimicrobial resistance, health costs and other adverse effects. In Rwanda, most outpatient visits take place in health centers where most of the antibiotics are prescribed. This study aimed to assess antibiotic prescription suitability in selected health centers in the District of Gisagara, Rwanda.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study which included 645 antibiotic prescriptions between January and December 2017 in the health centers of Kigembe, Kibayi and Agahabwa of Kibilizi Hospital, Gisagara district in Southern province, Rwanda. Data were collected from outpatient consultation registries. A systematic sampling technique was used to select study participants. A checklist comprising clinical symptoms, signs, diagnosis and prescribed antibiotics was used for data collection. EPI DATA and STATA software were used respectively for data entry and data analysis.
RESULTS: Average of antibiotic prescription was 54.2%. The mean age of patients treated was 26.6 years. The common symptoms related to antibiotics prescription were fever at 29%, cough at 26.9% and running nose at 17%. The most prescribed antibiotics were: Amoxicillin (37.1%), Penicillin V (13.2%) and Cloxacillin (12.1%). The main indication was upper respiratory tract infection at 40.6%. Among all antibiotics prescriptions, only 38.6% were found to be suitable.
CONCLUSION: Based on the recommended antibiotic prescription rate set at 30% by WHO, the rate antibiotics prescription in the three health centers is higher. There is a need to train health center nurses in diagnostic and rational antibiotic practices to limit the antibiotics' over-prescription and antimicrobial resistance.