With assistance from WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, the Department of Rational Drug Use in Oman conducted a national survey of antibiotic use. It identified inappropriate use in primary health care (PHC) centres in particular. A pilot study was thereafter conducted at the Muscat Health Centre to develop a national tool for improving antibiotic use. The study was conducted over six months and covered use of three antibiotics in two dosage forms. Doctors were encouraged to read selected scientific materials about evidence-based use of antibiotics for the most common clinical conditions encountered in PHC practice. Simultaneously, they were monitored, evaluated and informed about any nonconformity observed between their prescriptions and the evidence-based materials they had been given.
At the end of the study, a 53% reduction in the consumption of antibiotics was observed. The six-month follow-up period showed a similar antibiotic consumption trend. A similar approach for reducing antibiotic consumption in other PHC centres will accordingly be incorporated into the 2003 national annual plan for promoting rational use of antibiotics.
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