UAE: Abu Dhabi hospital launches tool to promote antimicrobial management

Over-prescription of antibiotics is a major factor contributing to the increase in antimicrobial resistance

by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 5 Apr 2022, 2:33 PM

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) has launched a prominent point-of-care tool for antimicrobial management, becoming the first hospital to introduce the medical awareness initiative in the Middle East.

The tool's launch is in aid of SSMC’s mission to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents, reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and shed much-needed light on the dangers of the mismanagement and over-prescription of antibiotics.

Dr Zahir Babiker, a consultant physician at SSMC's Division of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, says: "Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, with nearly 5 million deaths associated with bacterial AMR were reported in 2019 alone, based on a recent study by The Lancet. AMR occurs when germs present in the human body stop responding to the medications designed to kill them.

“As a result, germs such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses will continue to grow and pose a serious risk to the lives of people who are harboring those germs. Therefore, careful use of antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics is important and requires educating people and persuading clinicians to follow an evidence-based approach for prescribing antibiotics."

Over-prescription of antibiotics is a major factor contributing to the increase in antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotics are often over-prescribed in situations where people actively pursue a prescription, or where doctors are not recommending alternatives or are fearful of reprisals if they withhold them. These behaviours often drive a culture promoting unnecessary antibiotic prescribing.

Dr. Farin Foroodi, internal medicine consultant in SSMC’s Division of Internal Medicine, said, “The key reason we introduced the antimicrobial management tool at SSMC is to educate our clinicians and improve their access and utilization of antimicrobial management guidelines. It integrates our guidelines into a user-friendly interface on mobile and web applications. It also gives our medical practitioners quick access to the best quality information that is continuously updated with the most recent antimicrobial management guidelines to support informed decisions that will improve patient outcomes.”

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Antimicrobial resistance transforms illnesses that are characteristically simple to treat into infinitely more complex cases. The Tropical and Infectious Diseases team at SSMC are steadfast in their commitment to antimicrobial stewardship, which promotes the appropriate use of antimicrobials to improve patient outcomes, reduce antimicrobial resistance, and decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.

The new platform provides SSMC clinicians with up-to-date guidance on antimicrobial treatment choices, local patterns of AMR, and drug-specific information on antimicrobial agents to ensure their safety and efficacy. It also offers an opportunity to connect and share experiences with a valued network of infectious diseases specialists from across the globe.

"We still have a long way to go to raise awareness and educate the broader public about the seriousness of AMR and those antibiotics are neither a one-size-fits-all solution nor the only solution. We are optimistic that with antimicrobial management tools we can equip ourselves with the information we need to devise the best care plans for our patients, including those infected with resistant germs,” Dr. Babiker said.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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