Knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions associated with antimicrobial stewardship among veterinary students : a multi-country survey from Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan

14 Apr 2021

In African countries, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) issue remains pertinent. Despite this, little efforts have been made to assess the future veterinary prescribers on their knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) related to antimicrobial usage. This multi-country survey attempts to explore the KAP of future veterinarians on stewardship of antimicrobial and identify knowledge gaps. Eight veterinary schools participated from Nigeria, Sudan and South Africa. Data regarding perceptions and knowledge were analyzed using Chi-square χ² test, Spearman’s (Rho) Rank order correlation and factor analysis using principal component factoring extraction method. Fifty-two percent of the study participants were final year veterinary students, respectively, and majority (77.2%) had no previous knowledge of biomedical sciences. Majority age were 22–27 years (24.7 ± 2.8) 79% and multiple career fields post-graduation were preferred. Overall, poor perceptions and knowledge of antimicrobial stewardship were observed with variations among countries and only 36.3% (n = 123) of the students were confident in their ability to choose the ideal antimicrobial agents for a specific patient/group of animals. The majority of the final year students were confident of their knowledge regarding AMR (68%), making of Gram staining (69.2%) and in choosing the most ideal route for administering a specific antimicrobial (74.7%). The final year students had significantly (p < 0.05) higher confidence level for knowledge compared with the pre-final year students. Tetracyclines, penicillins, and sulphonamides represent the three most abused veterinary antimicrobials with similar ranking across countries. South African (69.7 ± 20.5) and Sudanese (68.1 ± 15.4) had significantly (p < 0.0001) higher mean scores compared to the Nigerian students (44.3 ± 6.8) in the student’s ability to correctly match some specific antimicrobials against their classes but Nigerian students performed better in ranking antimicrobials. This survey revealed poor to average knowledge of antimicrobial stewardship among veterinary students with significant knowledge gaps across the countries. It is recommended that the relevant regulatory and standardization authorities should make concerted efforts and interventions to regularly review curricula to ensure the delivery of targeted formative and normative training, and improved lectures on antimicrobial usage and stewardship in order to improve the awareness and behaviors of future prescribers. The identified knowledge gaps of veterinary medical students on antimicrobial stewardship must be bridge to safeguard the future.