Undergraduate antibiotic stewardship training : are we leaving our future prescribers ‘flapping in the wind’?

12 Sep 2017

A multisite survey of South African (SA) medical students’ perceptions and knowledge of antibiotic resistance (ABR) and appropriate prescribing by Wasserman et al., published in this edition of the SAMJ, demonstrates that our final-year medical undergraduates are clearly inadequately prepared for practice. Moreover, crucial gaps in knowledge and poor understanding of antibiotic stewardship (AS) and infection control, vary geographically. This first-in-kind crosssectional survey of the preparedness of final-year medical students to prescribe antibiotics identified several enablers that necessitate alternative educational strategies and interventions that could decisively affect the prescribing by graduates. In keeping with a recent study of final-year SA pharmacy students, by far the majority of respondents reported that they would prefer more education on appropriate antibiotic use. In fact, less than two-thirds reported being familiar with the term ‘antibiotic stewardship’. More disconcerting, only a third of respondents felt confident to prescribe antibiotics, with similar proportions across institutions.