PloS one 2017 02 1712(2) e0172146 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0172146
Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health problem. Monitoring the level of knowledge regarding antibiotics is a part of the European Union Community strategy against antimicrobial resistance.
To assess knowledge by the general public in Poland regarding antibiotics, AMR, and the impact of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day campaigns.
The repeated cross-sectional study was developed and carried out among the general public in Poland (in 5 waves between 2009 and 2011, embracing a total of 5004 respondents). The survey was based on a self-designed questionnaire, and carried out by Millward Brown SMG/KRC, using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI).
A high percentage of Polish adults had used antibiotics within the 12 months preceding their participation in the study (38%). Statistically relevant differences were observed regarding the respondents’ gender, age, education and employment status. The majority of the antibiotics used were prescribed by physicians (90%). In all five waves, 3% of the respondents purchased an antibiotic without a prescription. Prescriptions were mostly obtained from a general practitioner. The prevailing reasons for taking antibiotics were the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu. Approximately 40% of the respondents expected a prescription for an antibiotic against the flu. The vast majority knew that antibiotics kill bacteria (80%) but at the same time 60% of respondents believed antibiotics kill viruses. Physicians, pharmacists, hospital staff and nurses were mentioned as the most trustworthy sources of information. A third of the respondents declared to have come across information on the prudent use of antibiotics in the preceding 12 months. In the fifth wave, nearly half of the participants (48%), who had come across information about antibiotics in the preceding 12 months declared that the information resulted in a change in their attitude towards antibiotic use.
The survey generated information about the knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding antibiotics among the general population of Poland. Inappropriate antibiotic use is still highly prevalent in Poland, although a positive trend in behavioral change was observed after the educational campaigns. Additional didactic and systematic education campaigns regarding appropriate antibiotic use are needed and the use of the Internet as an education tool should be enhanced.