Veterinary Medical Students’ Perceptions, Attitude and Knowledge about Antibiotic Resistance and Stewardship: How Prepared Are Our Future Prescribers?
Keywords:antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; education; veterinary medical students
A cross sectional, multicentre survey utilizing a questionnaire was used to assess 6th- (final-) year veterinary medical students’ perceptions, attitude and knowledge about antibiotic resistance (ABR) and stewardship (ABS) in 5 conveniently-selected veterinary schools in Nigeria. Data obtained were analyzed by Fischer’s exact and χ2 tests at a significance level of P < 0.05. Out of 175 final-year veterinary students, 95 (54.3% i.e., response rate) completed the survey. Of the 95, 17% have heard about ABS and 7% knew the meaning of ABS. Less than 10% knew the core principles and goals of ABS and less than 20% of the respondents knew the ideal members of an ABS team. All the respondents rightly knew that no antibiotic stewardship programme (ASP) exist in veterinary hospitals in Nigeria, nearly all of them (97%) reported that antibiograms are rarely used during antibiotic (AB) prescription in their institutional veterinary teaching hospital (VTH) and about two-third (65%) believed that ABs are overused in most veterinary hospitals in Nigeria. Most of the respondents believed that ABR is of greater concern at national level than in their institutional VTHs and majority of them (92%) believed that ABR is a global problem (P = 0.009). Minority of the respondents knew that inadequate personal hygiene, use of substandard ABs, prescription of ABs by non-veterinarians/professionals, poor infection control practices, treating self-limiting infections with ABs, suboptimal and incomplete AB doses (P = 0.017), are factors that promote ABR. Minority of the respondents knew that education on AB therapy (44%), development of antibiotic usage policies (35%), reduction of AB use (14%), establishment of national AB resistance surveillance (28%) and development of institutional guidelines for AB use (29%), are critical interventions to curb ABR. Only 17% of the respondents felt that their education on ABR is adequate for their veterinary career. Most of the respondents believed that strong knowledge of ABs is important for their future veterinary career and would like more education about ABR and ABS. Overall mean correct score of 29% on clinical knowledge vignettes with similar scores across the schools in all the areas, was recorded. This survey has shown that Nigerian veterinary students’ perception and knowledge about ABR and ABS are poor and therefore creates doubt about their preparedness to practice ABS. There is urgent need for improved ABS education in Nigerian veterinary schools.
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