MTaPS

Well-functioning national regulatory authorities (NRAs) ensure access to safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable medical products. However, the benefits of their work are often unseen and difficult to attribute, thereby making NRAs undervalued and under-resourced, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This paper offers three key arguments NRAs and other stakeholders can use to advocate for greater investment in regulatory systems strengthening—medical products regulation effectively safeguards public health; effective regulation improves health system’s efficiency by increasing access to affordable medical products, contributing to universal health coverage; and robust regulation strengthens local pharmaceutical manufacturing and bolsters pharmaceutical trade. NRAs’ critical role in health systems is indisputable, yet they need to better promote their value to receive the requisite resources to function effectively.

To delineate the prevalence and factors associated with antimicrobial use across six referral hospitals in Tanzania using WHO point prevalence survey (PPS) methodology to inform hospital-specific antimicrobial stewardship programmes, we conducted a cross-sectional analytical study. We analysed the prevalence of antibiotic use by referral hospital, ward, indication and patient characteristics as the main outcomes. We also described adherence to the Tanzania Standard Treatment Guidelines (STG) and WHO’s AWaRe categorisation of antibiotics. Approximately 62.3% of inpatients were prescribed antibiotics, predominantly from the Access group of antibiotics (ceftriaxone, metronidazole or ampicillin–cloxacillin). Empirical use of antibiotics is common, and the Access group of antibiotics is predominantly prescribed in children less than 2 years and patients admitted to surgical and paediatric wards. Lack of utilisation of antimicrobial susceptibility testing services in these hospitals requires urgent interventions. Routine monitoring of antibiotic use is recommended to be part of antibiotic stewardship programmes in Tanzania.

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