OBJECTIVE: To assess the antibiotic prescribing practices of doctors working in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and their knowledge of local antibiotic resistance patterns.
METHODS: Doctors attending morning meetings in 25 public hospitals in four provinces were asked to complete a knowledge, attitude and practice survey. The questionnaire contained 43 multiple choice questions that the doctor answered at the time of the meeting.
FINDINGS: The response rate was 83.4% (386/463). Two hundred and seventy doctors (59.8%) declared that they had insufficient information about antibiotics. Only 14.0% (54/386) recognized the possibility of cephalosporin cross-resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Most participants had no information about local antibiotic resistance for Salmonella Typhi (211/385, 54.8%) and hospital-acquired pneumonia (253/384, 65.9%). Unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions were considered as harmless by 115 participants and 148 considered locally-available generic antibiotics to be of poor quality. Nearly three-quarters (280/386) of participants agreed that it was difficult to select the correct antibiotics. Most participants (373/386) welcomed educational programmes on antibiotic prescribing and 65.0% (249/383) preferred local over international antibiotic guidelines.
CONCLUSION: Doctors in the Lao People's Democratic Republic seem to favour antibiotic prescribing interventions. Health authorities should consider a capacity building programme that incorporates antibiotic prescribing and hospital infection control.