What's Happening?

Antibiotic Resistance

Awareness of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in a west of Ireland third-level student population.

Date: 
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Researchers Dr Debbie Corcoran, Dr Sheila Faherty and Sandy Bakankio BSc, Department of Biopharmaceutical and Medical Science, GMIT, in collaboration with members of the HSE’s national Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control team (AMRIC) - surveillance scientist Maria Molloy and Communications Manager Audrey Lambourn (HCAI) are working towards improving antibiotic resistance through education.

The group carried out a study which evaluated awareness and knowledge in a student population, in line with the Irish National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance 2017-2020 (iNAP) strategic objective 1, which centres on awareness and knowledge of antimicrobial resistance. The GMIT-HSE group believes this is the first Irish survey focused on students aged 18 to25, measuring their knowledge of antibiotics and resistance.

The survey of students aged 18-25 involved 509 students from across all five GMIT campuses; 70% females and 28% males and 2% preferring not to disclose their gender.

Although this study shows there is awareness of correct antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance overall there is a lack of awareness and understanding, illustrating a “surface knowledge”.

Misuse and Abuse of Antibiotics

The study shows there is misuse of antibiotics, with 35% of the study population using leftover antibiotics, 1.2% of participants’ obtaining antibiotics online and 1.2% obtaining antibiotics abroad. The study also highlighted a lack of knowledge in this demographic in relation to the treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

As stated by the WHO – “Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, everyone has a role to play in preventing resistance by using antibiotics properly, so that future populations will be able to use antibiotics to treat infections.”

The study findings are to be published next year, but work will continue with a focus on delivering the important message of antibiotic resistance to this demographic nationwide.

Dr Debbie Corcoran says one of the group’s aims is to secure funding to expand the project and target this demographic through a nationwide health promotional campaign involving all Higher Education institutes in tandem with evaluating current campaigns amongst this demographic”.

Dr Debbie Corcoran