AMR Stewardship Prize Winner Spotlight: Ghana’s Lekma Hospital
Antimicrobial resistance, a top 10 global public health threat, is often exacerbated by the misuse and misdiagnosis of antimicrobials by patients. At Lekma Hospital, a local hospital in Accra, Ghana, clinicians found that many of their patients were self-medicating with antimicrobials before reporting to the hospital. This makes treatment in the hospital challenging – often, the patients don’t know the type or dosage of the drugs they took – while also contributing to the overall spread of antimicrobial resistance.
So, the hospital decided to embark on an AMR surveillance program. They found that only 16% of patients tested for antimicrobial prescriptions with a matching diagnosis, meaning that the vast majority of patients were taking antibiotics inappropriately.
In view of this challenge, Lekma Hospital adopted Ghana’s National Action Plan and tailored it to suit the cultural and socioeconomic situations of the people it serves. As part of that, Lekma Hospital strengthened its AMR surveillance program, created an awareness campaign to promote antimicrobial stewardship, and built capacity with clinical staff, including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, laboratory personnel, and community pharmacists.
Last year, the AMR Industry Alliance, the leading life-sciences coalition set up to provide sustainable solutions to curb AMR, awarded Lekma Hospital with a cash grant as a winner of its second annual Stewardship Prize. The Stewardship Prize acknowledges local programs’ innovative approaches to AMR stewardship in their communities, and the cash grant is intended to help scale their approach.
“Winning the AMR Industry Alliance Stewardship Prize is a great feat for Lekma Hospital, and we are very excited to see that our efforts at fighting AMR have been recognized,” said Dr. Akua Gyimah-Asante, Medical Superintendent at Lekma Hospital. “This prize will be used to finance more campaigns against AMR and equip our microbiology laboratory.”
The program trained its health workers in infection prevention and control, which culminated in the development of the hospital’s Standard Operating Procedures, and it implemented more robust surveillance. Lekma Hospital’s multi-faceted program demonstrated the potential to reduce antimicrobial prescriptions and promoted good antimicrobial stewardship among its clinicians.
It also created an awareness campaign to raise the issue of AMR among clinicians, pharmacists, and the local community. In fact, the program hosted an awareness walk through the town with more than 300 staff, ambulance workers, pharmacists, and community member joining together to drive awareness.
These efforts paid off: it cut antimicrobial use by more than half in just three years, dropping from 33% in 2019 to 12% in 2021. Additionally, the number of patients who tested for prescriptions that had a matching diagnosis increased more than fivefold, from just 16% in 2019 to more than 93% by 2021.
“The awareness we have created is one of the big successes of this stewardship activity,” said Dr. Gyimah-Asante.
With the AMR Industry Alliance Stewardship Prize funds, the program plans to procure additional equipment that will strengthen their diagnostics and surveillance capabilities, while continuing their work building awareness throughout the community.