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Children in some areas of the country are being given antibiotics, often intravenously, to treat a cold, ear or throat infections, but the drugs are not effective against virus based illnesses.
The inappropriate use of antibiotics is a major risk factor in the development of drug-resistant 'superbugs'.
Project - Scientists - Prescribing - Antibiotics - Children
A project designed by the scientists to curb the prescribing of antibiotics for children with upper respiratory tract infections saw antibiotic use drop by half.
The collaboration brought together rural hospitals in two counties in rural China, Chinese health officials and academics at the University of Leeds and University of Toronto.
Aim - System - Stewardship - Parts - Chinese
The aim was to devise and evaluate a system of 'anti-microbial stewardship' that could be used in other parts of the Chinese health system and would give doctors the confidence to say 'no' to requests for inappropriate antibiotic treatment.
The stewardship programme was rolled out to a group of primary care rural hospitals in in Guangxi province in Southern China. A lot of demand for antibiotics in the Chinese primary care sector comes from parents and grandparents who have children with upper respiratory tract infections such as a sore throat or ear ache.
Children - Antibiotics - Drip
Children often receive the antibiotics through an intravenous drip.
But colds, most sore throats and ear infections are caused by viruses and not bacteria, and antibiotic treatment is unnecessary and ineffective.
John - Walley - Professor - International - Public
John Walley, Professor of International Public Health at the University of Leeds, said: "Doctors working in the primary care hospitals come under considerable pressure from parents to prescribe antibiotics to children who have upper respiratory tract infections.
"They can feel that if they don't give the antibiotic, the parents will just go elsewhere and get it.
Decisions - Doctor - Child - Front - Battery
"These are difficult decisions for the doctor. They may have a very ill child in front of them -- and they do not have a battery of tests results to rely on....
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