PERCEPTIONS AND PRACTICES OF ANTIMICROBIAL STEWARDSHIP AMONG COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS IN ABUJA, NIGERIA
Background: Irrational use of antibioticsis one of the key modifiable risk factorsfor antimicrobial resistance. Owing to the widespread use of antibiotics in community settings, Community Pharmacists have crucial roles in ensuring the rightful use of antibiotics. Objective: To assess the practice and perception of Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) among Community Pharmacists in Abuja, Nigeria. Method: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted from July to September 2020, using a selfadministered validated and pretested questionnaire, in the city of FCT. The data from the questionnaire were analyzed using Statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 21 and presented as frequency and percentage of response. Result: One hundred and sixty-four (164) Community Pharmacists participated in the study, of which, 98 were males (59.8%) and 66 (40.2%) were females. The majority (70.1%) of the Pharmacists were familiar with the vital role of the AMS program and its importance in enhancing patient care, thus indicating good perception and knowledge about antimicrobial stewardship. Many (62.2%) of the Community Pharmacists strongly agreed that they educate patients on the use of antimicrobials and resistance-related issues. The Community Pharmacists in FCT had good AMs practices. Conclusion: The Community Pharmacists in Abuja have a positive perception and practice about Antimicrobial Stewardship. They often or always dispensed antimicrobials with prescription and complete clinical information and never dispensed antimicrobials longer than the prescribed duration. There is a need to increase the level of communication and interaction between Community Pharmacists and other health care providers.