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: Antibiotics are indispensable to maintaining human health; however, their overuse has resulted in resistant organisms, increasing morbidity, mortality and costs. Increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health threat, resulting in multiple campaigns across countries to improve appropriate antimicrobial use. This includes addressing the overuse of antimicrobials for self-limiting infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), particularly in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where there is the greatest inappropriate use and where antibiotic utilisation has increased the most in recent years. Consequently, there is a need to document current practices and successful initiatives in LMICs to improve future antimicrobial use.: Documentation of current epidemiology and management of URTIs, particularly in LMICs, as well as campaigns to improve future antimicrobial use.: There is still considerable concern regarding the prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics for URTIs among LMICs. This includes considerable self-purchasing, up to 100% of pharmacies in some LMICs. However, multiple activities are now ongoing to improve future use. These incorporate educational initiatives among all key stakeholder groups, as well as legislation and other activities to reduce self-purchasing, as part of National Action Plans (NAPs). Further activities are still needed though. These include increased physician and pharmacist education, starting in medical and pharmacy schools; greater monitoring of prescribing and dispensing practices, including the development of pertinent quality indicators; and targeted patient information and health education campaigns. It is recognised that such activities are more challenging in LMICs given more limited resources and a lack of healthcare professionals.: Initiatives will grow across LMICs to reduce inappropriate prescribing and dispensing of antimicrobials for URTIs as part of NAPs and other activities, and these will be monitored.
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Name: Current medical research and opinion
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