Over 70% of patients in SA are prescribed antibiotics for no reason

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Due to a problem of antimicrobial resistance in South Africa, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) decided to conduct a study to look into this growing phenomenon.

In order to gather information, undercover patients were sent to 186 private general practitioners and 73 public clinics. The kicker was that these undercover patients were not ill.

The study found that three-quarters of patients sent to doctors and clinics in South Africa were prescribed antibiotics for no reason.

Senior Researcher at the Wits Centre for Health Policy, Duane Blaauw says the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics is one of the factors that drive the development of antibacterial resistance. 

“Antibiotics are a useful drug. They are the reason people live longer – because we can treat bacterial infections. The problem is when those antibiotics are not used properly, the bacteria develop resistance, they fight back against antibiotics.” – Duane Blaauw, Senior Researcher at Wits Centre for Health Policy

The Wits study is the first to document the amount of overprescribing in Primary Health Care.

Originally published on CapeTalk and 94.7

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