Addressing the threat of antibiotic resistance in Thailand: monitoring population knowledge and awareness. (WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health | September 2018)
(2018; 6 pages)


The 2015 Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance (GAP-AMR) highlights the key importance of improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance among consumers. While low levels of awareness are not exclusive to consumers in low- and middle-income countries, the challenges to improving understanding are compounded in these settings, by factors such as higher rates of antibiotic self-medication and availability through informal suppliers. In 2016, Thailand set an ambitious target to increase, by 2021, public knowledge of antibiotic resistance and awareness of appropriate use of antibiotic by 20%. This involved first establishing baseline data by incorporating a module on antibiotic awareness into the 2017 national Health and Welfare Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office. The benefit of this approach is that the data from the antibiotic module are collected in parallel with data on socioeconomic, demographic and geospatial parameters that can inform targeted public communications. The module was developed by review of existing tools that have been used to measure public awareness of antibiotics, namely those of the Eurobarometer project of the European Union and a questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization. The Thai module was constructed in such a way that results could be benchmarked against those of the other survey tools, to allow international comparison. The Thai experience showed that close collaboration between the relevant national authorities allowed smooth integration of a module on antibiotic awareness into the national household survey. To date, evidence from the module has informed the content and strategy of public communications on antibiotic use and misuse. Work is under way to select the most robust indicators to use in monitoring progress. The other Member States of the World Health Organization South-East Asia Region can benefit from Thailand’s experiences in improvement of monitoring population knowledge and awareness.

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