Issue

Vol 131 No 1480: 17 August 2018

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Issue Summary

SUMMARY

Ethnic disparities in community antibacterial dispensing in New Zealand, 2015

Compared with many other countries, the level of antibiotic consumption by people in the community in New Zealand is very high, encouraging the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in New Zealand, and threatening the effectiveness of many antibiotic medicines in the coming years. One of the goals of the Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, developed by the NZ Ministry of Health, is to optimise the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health by encouraging appropriate antbiotic prescribing and discouraging inappropriate prescribing. However, there are large differences between the ethnic groups in New Zealand with regard to the rates of various infectious diseases, including rheumatic fever, pneumonia, and skin infections, and interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing need to take account of these ethnic differences in the rates of infectious diseases. This study has shown that Pacific and Maori people, who have very much higher rates of many infectious diseases, have only moderately higher rates of dispensing of antibiotics, when compared with people of European, Middle Eastern, Latin American or African, or Asian ethnicity. General practitioners and other health care workers caring for patients in the community need to reduce antibiotic prescribing for all population groups, but particularly for those groups with lower rates of serious infectious diseases.

SUMMARY

Ethnic disparities in community antibacterial dispensing in New Zealand, 2015

Compared with many other countries, the level of antibiotic consumption by people in the community in New Zealand is very high, encouraging the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in New Zealand, and threatening the effectiveness of many antibiotic medicines in the coming years. One of the goals of the Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan, developed by the NZ Ministry of Health, is to optimise the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health by encouraging appropriate antbiotic prescribing and discouraging inappropriate prescribing. However, there are large differences between the ethnic groups in New Zealand with regard to the rates of various infectious diseases, including rheumatic fever, pneumonia, and skin infections, and interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing need to take account of these ethnic differences in the rates of infectious diseases. This study has shown that Pacific and Maori people, who have very much higher rates of many infectious diseases, have only moderately higher rates of dispensing of antibiotics, when compared with people of European, Middle Eastern, Latin American or African, or Asian ethnicity. General practitioners and other health care workers caring for patients in the community need to reduce antibiotic prescribing for all population groups, but particularly for those groups with lower rates of serious infectious diseases.