Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes in Saudi Hospitals: Evidence from a National Survey
Shebl, Nada Atef
Saudi hospitals and healthcare facilities are facing increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of new multi-drug resistant strains. This is placing an unprecedented threat to successful treatments and outcomes of patients accessing those facilities. The inappropriate use of antimicrobials is fueling this crisis, warranting urgent implementation of interventions to preserve antimicrobials and reduce resistance rates. Antimicrobial stewardship programmes (ASPs) can improve antimicrobial use, treatment success rates and reduce the levels of antimicrobial resistance. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) devised a national antimicrobial stewardship plan to implement ASPs in hospitals, but little is known about the progress of implementation and the factors affecting it. This study aims to assess the level and the factors affecting the adoption and implementation of ASPs in Saudi hospitals at a national level. A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2017 using an online questionnaire sent to all MOH hospitals. Overall, 147 out 247 MOH hospitals responded to the survey (54%). Only 26% of the hospitals reported the implementation of ASPs. Hospitals lack the knowledge, technological and staff resources to adopt and implement ASPs. Alternative models of ASP adoption could be explored to improve the rates of implementation of ASPs.