Knowledge and awareness of the general public and perception of pharmacists about antibiotic resistance

Mason, Thuy, Trochez, Claire, Thomas, Remmya, Babar, Maria, Hesso, Iman and Kayyali, Reem (2018) Knowledge and awareness of the general public and perception of pharmacists about antibiotic resistance. BMC Public Health, 18(711), ISSN (online) 1471-2458


Background Antibiotic resistance (AR) continues to be a serious problem. Many factors contribute to AR, including inappropriate use of antibiotics, in which both healthcare professionals and patients play a contributing role. This study aimed to assess the awareness and knowledge of antibiotic usage and AR among the general public (in affluent and deprived areas) and community pharmacists' (CPs') in Greater London. Methods A cross-sectional survey involving members of the public was conducted between July 2014 and February 2015. Stage one involved members of the public (N = 384) residing in affluent areas of London. The second stage targeted public (N = 384) in deprived areas of London. In addition, CPs (N = 240) across the same areas were also surveyed. Data analysis was performed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS Software packages. Results Response rate: 36% (n = 139/384) and 57% (n = 220/384) and 25% (n = 60/240) of public residing in affluent areas, deprived areas and of CPs respectively was achieved. Definitive trends in knowledge of how antibiotics work could not be drawn to distinguish between affluent and deprived areas. However, public respondents residing in affluent areas possessed better understanding of AR and prudent use of antibiotics, and this was statistically significant in both cases (p < 0.05). Exposure to an antibiotic campaign (32% in affluent areas, 17% in deprived areas) did not raise public respondents' knowledge on AR and only partially raised their general knowledge on antibiotics usage. Only 20% of public residing in deprived areas received counselling from a CP, among them 74% had an antibiotic prescribed on at least one previous occasion. Those who received counselling displayed better knowledge about concordance/adherence with respect to antibiotic usage (p < 0.05) whereas exposure to an antibiotic campaign made no significant impact on knowledge about concordance/adherence. Conclusion The study highlights that there has been no change in the status quo with respect to awareness of antibiotic usage and AR even after the implementation of several awareness campaigns in England. Those who benefited from CP counselling showed a significant better knowledge towards prudent antibiotic usage which stresses the importance of CPs' counselling on antibiotic prescription.

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