Antibiotic guideline adherence by Clinicians in medical wards at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre Malawi

Grace Thandekire Sibande1*, Ndaziona Peter Kwanjo Banda1,2, Thandizo Moya1, Sylvia Siwinda1, Rebecca Lester3,4

  1. University of Malawi, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi.
  2. Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi.
  3. Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Blantyre, Malawi.
  4. Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK

*Corresponding Author: Grace Thandekire Sibande, Email;


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major concern in health care worldwide. In Malawi rates of AMR, in particular third-generation cephalosporin-resistant (3GC-R) Enterobacterales have rapidly increased since 2003. Antibiotic guidelines are a key component of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). As part of stewardship, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi developed an antibiotic guideline in the form of a smart phone application in June 2016.
We conducted a study to assess clinicians adherence to the local antibiotic guideline on the adult medical wards, two years after it was introduced. Specifically assessing choice of antibiotic, time of blood culture collection and 48-hour review.
A cross-sectional study was carried out using purposive sampling method. 230 case files of adult patients were audited against the antibiotic guideline. Adherence to the guideline in terms of indication for antibiotic, choice of antibiotic and antibiotic review time was reviewed. Statistical analysis was done using IBM SPSS and presented with descriptive statistics.
194 (84% [95% CI 79.0-88.8]) antibiotic prescriptions were adherent to the guideline, 28 (12% [95% CI 8.2-17.1]) non-adherent and 8 (3.5% [95% CI 1.5-6.7]) antibiotic indication was not clear. The most common indication for antibiotic prescriptions was pneumonia, as documented in 89 (39% [95 % CI 32.4-45.3]) case files. 191(76% [95% CI 70.3-81.2]) of prescriptions were for ceftriaxone. There was evidence of utilising blood culture to adjust therapy as 88/230 (38% [95% CI 32.0-44.9]) had culture taken. 175(76% [95 % CI 70.0-81.4]) of files had antibiotics reviewed within 48 hours.
There is still need to work on rational prescribing of antibiotics as ceftriaxone usage was high during this study period. Scheduled audits and point prevalence surveys should be implemented quickly to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance and improve individual patient care.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance, Antimicrobial stewardship, Antibiotic guideline, sub-Saharan Africa

Leave a Reply