Latin American countries advance in the surveillance of antimicrobial consumption

21 Apr 2021
health worker computer

Washington DC, 21 April 2021 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) together with the Centro Universitario de Farmacología de Argentina (known in Spanish as CUFAR), PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center in Argentina, is collaborating with countries in the Region of the Americas to register the national consumption of antimicrobials in the countries, following the methodology of the World Health Organization (WHO). The initiative seeks to train professionals from the countries in data collection and install a common methodology for conducting these studies in the Region.

Inappropriate use is one of the main causes of antimicrobials resistance. Therefore, it is necessary to know which antimicrobials are used and in what quantity, in order to be able to evaluate the rationality of their use.

However, the high number of antimicrobials, the variability of concentrations, formulations, and existing pharmaceutical presentations for each medicine in the market in different countries, make it difficult to calculate consumption.

To this end, in 2020, professionals from 13 countries in the Region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay) took the course on “Methodology of the World Health Organization for the surveillance of antimicrobial consumption”, in PAHO´s Virtual Campus for Public Health, under the guidance of CUFAR and support from PAHO. This initiative made it possible to provide tools to obtain reliable data, using the necessary standardization to make comparisons of antimicrobial consumption within the same country over time, and with other countries.

Considering this methodology, the priority antimicrobial groups for analysis are A07A (intestinal anti-infectives), J01 (antibacterials for systemic use) and P01AB (nitroimidazole derivatives for diseases caused by protozoa). Likewise, the consumption of antimicrobials was analyzed according to the classification proposed by WHO (AwaRe) to guide the use of these medicines.

In a first survey, the main results obtained from the information entered by the countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Peru) show consumption data for the 2019 year, in daily doses defined per thousand inhabitants (average dose daily/1000 inhab. / day), between 6.00-12.76 for information sources of the public sector; 17.93-36.26 for global data (public and private sector); 1.91-3.38 hospital data, and 12.7 for private sector data.

Among the main challenges identified are the need to have, or to strengthen, national sources that allow estimating the consumption of antimicrobials; and the technical capacity to manage and interpret the results obtained.

PAHO will release the results, analysis, and conclusions obtained in this work to support the countries of the Region in their participation in the new edition of the survey of Antimicrobial Consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean during 2021.

This initiative supports and facilitates what countries have already approved in the framework of their National Action Plans on antimicrobial resistance, and is part of the project “Working together to fight antimicrobial resistance”, which is being developed with the support of the European Union, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organization World Animal Health Organization (OIE).