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Background: Antibiotics are useful in treating and managing infections in outpatient and inpatient care settings. However, irrational antibiotic use can lead to improper patient care, antimicrobial resistance, wastage of resources and sometimes even death. The pattern of antibiotic use varies from one medical practitioner to another, infection, patient, wards, country and region. The study was a conducted as a baseline to describe the prevalence and patterns of antibiotic use in Kirinyaga County hospitals.
Methodology: The study was a point prevalence survey of antibiotics use among patients admitted to four hospitals in Kirinyaga county and the study utilised the World Health Organization methodology for point prevalence survey of antibiotics in hospitals. Data were abstracted from patients’ files of patients who consented using a pretested tool. The data was exported to MS Excel for cleaning and analysed descriptively
Results: The prevalence of antibiotic use in the four hospitals in Kirinyaga county was 44.0% (95%CI 38.6-49.5%). Penicillins were the most prescribed antibiotic class at 29.1%, followed by cephalosporins at 23.0%. Ceftriaxone and metronidazole were the highest prescribed at 22.0% and 19.8%, respectively. Antibiotics were mainly prescribed for community-acquired infections at 58.2%, followed by surgical prophylaxis at 26.0%. Most patients (52.5%) received two antibiotics, predominantly benzylpenicillin and gentamicin, at 40.3%. The majority, 63.0%, of all antibiotics were administered parenterally. There was poor documentation of the administration of medicines on the treatment sheet.
Conclusion: There was a relatively high prevalence of antibiotic use, all prescribed empirically. Community acquired infections were the most common indication for antibiotics. There was extensive use World Health Organization “watch” category of antibiotics without microbiological tests. There is a need for antibiotic stewardship program to ensure judicial use of antibiotics.