What is it about?

Antibiotics come in different forms and strengths for e.g. 500 mg capsules, 2 g injections, 500 ml lotions or 10 ml drops etc. Some of these antibiotics are prescribed for a few days whereas others are prescribed for longer duration based on the infections they are intended to cure. It is important for a hospital to know how much an antibiotic is being used in a period of time. However, it is not easy to compare 500 mg of one antibiotic which was given for 7 days three times per day with an antibiotic that was given once per day eye drop for 3 days. Therefore, a standard was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to make comparisons between different types of antibiotics possible regardless of type, strength or duration. This article is about such a comparison carried between two referral hospitals.

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Why is it important?

Our article uses the WHO developed methodology of measuring antibiotic use in hospitals by using a standardized metric. This allows comparisons to be made on the yearly changes in the antibiotic consumption within one hospital and/or to make fair comparisons with another hospital. Our findings showed that the zonal referral hospital had higher antibiotic consumption rate than the national referral hospital in the 5 year study period. Moreover, antibiotic consumption decreased in the national referral hospital whereas it remained mostly unaffected in the zonal referral hospital. Based on these findings, more studies could be carried out to identify why such differences were observed and advocate for the establishment of Antibiotic Stewardship Programs in the hospitals.


It is my hope that this article paves the way for implementing the DDD methodology of measuring and reporting antibiotic consumption in hospitals because using such a standard enables to make comparisons and draft policies based on the consumption rates. Although the concept of defined daily dose is not a very obvious one, it is an important standard tool that should be encouraged.

Nebyu Daniel Amaha
Mekelle University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Antibiotic consumption study in two hospitals in Asmara from 2014 to 2018 using WHO’s defined daily dose (DDD) methodology, PLoS ONE, July 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233275.
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