Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of veterinarians on antibiotic use and resistance and its containment in South Africa
Keywords:antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, antibiotic stewardship, knowledge, attitudes, practices
The inappropriate use of antibiotics in the veterinary sector has contributed to antibiotic resistance (ABR), which negatively impacts animal health and welfare. Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) on antibiotic use, ABR, and its containment amongst veterinarians is critical to optimise antibiotic use and contain resistance.
A quantitative questionnaire-based online survey was conducted amongst members of professional veterinary associations. The questionnaire consisted of four sections focusing on socio-demographic characteristics, KAP of participants on antibiotic use, ABR, and its containment in the South African veterinary sector. The Independent t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and chi-square test were used to establish associations among selected socio-demographic variables and selected KAP parameters.
A total of 130 responses were received from 2 178 animal health professionals, yielding a response rate of six per cent, with 102 complete responses constituting the final sample size. Self-reported knowledge on antibiotic stewardship, ABR mechanisms, and pharmacology was good at 96 (94.1%), 91 (89.2%), and 70 (68.6%), respectively. Notably, most of the veterinarians (61; 59.8%) lacked an antibiotic stewardship programme at their practice. Place of practice was significantly associated (p = 0.004) with possession of knowledge about ABR. Veterinarians in urban practice were more knowledgeable about ABR than those in rural practice.
Antibiotic stewardship programmes need to be implemented in veterinary practice. Such programmes might encourage the frequent use of consensus guidelines for the appropriate use of antibiotics and microbiology-informed therapy.