Research Articles

Antibiotic use in Namibia: prescriber practices for common community infections

Dawn D. Pereko, Martie S. Lubbe, Sabiha Y. Essack
South African Family Practice | Vol 57, No 4 : July/August| a4169 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 17 October 2014 | Published: 01 July 2015

About the author(s)

Dawn D. Pereko, Medicine Usage in South Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy, North-West University, Potchefstroom, Namibia
Martie S. Lubbe, Medicine Usage in South Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Sabiha Y. Essack, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Background: Despite the threat of resistance, the use of antibiotics globally is high and continues to increase. Much of this use is attributed to overprescribing by physicians. The objective of this study was to assess doctors’ management of common community-acquired infections in Namibia.

Methodology: A cross-sectional survey based on a web-based self-administered questionnaire was conducted. Doctors belonging to the local professional associations comprised the study population. Data were collected from March to July 2014.

Results: A 10% ( n = 44) response rate was achieved. Respondents were from across the country and practised mainly in the private health sector. Both awareness of local antimicrobial sensitivity rates and ownership of national Standard Treatment Guidelines were poor (20% and 31% respectively). Common practice in managing common infections, with the exception of chronic otitis media, cystitis and pyelonephritis, is to treat empirically. The reported first-line antibiotics of choice were the combination of amoxicillin with clavulanic acid for upper respiratory tract infections and ciprofloxacin for urinary tract infections. Management of infections was the same across all socio-demographic factors and was not influenced by patient workload.

Conclusion: This survey revealed that first-line antibiotic choices of doctors are not informed by the Namibia Standard Treatment Guidelines and the local and regional antimicrobial sensitivity data. Interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing in Namibia should include better dissemination of guidelines and information regarding local antimicrobial sensitivity rates as well as strategies for the implementation of guidelines.


antibiotic prescribing; antibiotics; treatment guidelines


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