Antimicrobial prescription patterns in East Africa: a systematic review

Joan Acam, Paul Kuodi, Girmay Medhin, Eyasu Makonnen

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Antimicrobial resistance is currently a recognized global health problem stemming from poor antibiotic stewardship by health workers and inappropriate antimicrobial use by patients. Data showing the extent of poor antimicrobial stewardship in low- and middle-income countries are scanty though high incidences of antimicrobial resistance are increasingly reported in many settings across the globe. The objective of the present study was, therefore, to evaluate prescriptions for antimicrobials in East Africa. Methods: A comprehensive literature search strategy that includes text words and medical subject headings was developed and applied to predefined electronic databases. Two authors independently screened the titles and abstracts of the outputs of the literature search. Full texts were then independently reviewed by the first and the second authors. Eligible studies were formally assessed for quality and risk of bias using a scoring tool. Extracted data from included studies were combined in a meta-analysis where appropriate and presented using forest plots and tables or in a narrative text. Where data were available, subgroup analyses were performed. Results: A total of 4284 articles were retrieved, but only 26 articles were included in the review. The majority of the included studies (30.8%) were retrieved from Ethiopia, followed by Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania each contributing 19.2% of the included studies. The overall proportion of encounters with antimicrobials reported by the included studies was 57% CI [42–73%]. Ethiopia had an overall patient encounter with antimicrobials of 63% [50–76%] followed by Sudan with an overall encounter with antimicrobials of 62% CI [34–85%]. Included studies from Kenya reported an overall encounter with antimicrobials of 54% CI [15–90%], whereas included studies from Tanzania reported an overall patient encounter with antimicrobials of 40% CI [21–60%]. Conclusion: Prescription patterns demonstrated in this review significantly deviate from WHO recommendations suggesting inappropriate antimicrobial use in the East African countries. Further studies have to be pursued to generate more information on antimicrobial use in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2023

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