Yasodhara GUNASEKARA , University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Tierney KINNISON , The Royal Veterinary Collage, London, UK , United Kingdom
Ruwani KALUPAHANA , University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Ayona SILVA-FLETCHER, The Royal Veterinary Collage, London, UK , United Kingdom
General public knowledge and perception about antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in Sri Lanka
Yasodhara Gunasekera1, Tierney Kinnison2, Ruwani Kalupahana1, Ayona Silva-Fletcher2, Sanda Kotawatte1
1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
2 The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a public health priority worldwide and it can be the next global pandemic. Reducing the growth of AMR through the improvement of public awareness and understanding of AMR is one of the goals for the World health organization. This study was designed to assess the awareness and knowledge of antibiotic usage and AMR among general public in an urban area and a rural area in Sri Lanka. A cross sectional survey was conducted using a pre-tested and validated self-administered questionnaire. In the urban study, majority of the respondents 69.2% believed that they had very good or good knowledge about antibiotics. Only 33.5% of the respondents were able to identify at least one antibiotic from the given list of medicines correctly, and 53.3% identified paracetamol (pain killer) as antibiotic. In the rural study a similar percentage (70%) believe they have good or very good knowledge about antibiotics. But out of a list of medicines, all selected panadol (pain killer) as an antibiotic. The study highlights that general public do not understand the term ‘antibiotic’ correctly. General public purchase and take ‘medicine’ using generic and commercial names (paracetamol, panadol, piriton). This poses a huge public health risk as self-medication is a common practice in Sri Lanka and a prescription is not essential to purchase antibiotics. As self-medication is the first approach to any health-related issues, antibiotics are also taken for common ailments such as fever, headaches and body pain. This understanding regarding the knowledge of general public is essential to plan the appropriate communication strategies and education to increase the awareness of antibiotics and AMR in Sri Lanka.
Acknowledgement: The study was funded by a research grant from UKRI Research England under the Bloomsbury SET, UK.
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