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Pregnant Women Wrongly Consuming Antibiotics – Report

Pregnant women in Uganda who have urinary tract infection symptoms are wrongly consuming antibiotics prescribed without laboratory confirmation, a study carried out by the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Makerere University shows.

The study, aimed at finding out the accuracy of UTI diagnosis, assessed 2,562 women from four groups. Three groups were treated in Uganda and included 1,026 pregnant women with UTI symptoms, 595 pregnant women without UTI symptoms and 472 non-pregnant outpatients with UTI symptoms. The fourth group consisted of 469 non-pregnant outpatients with UTI symptoms in Sweden.

The researched established that more than half of the pregnant women with UTI symptoms are not actually suffering from UTIs. For instance, from 1,026 pregnant women that presented UTI symptoms, only 4 percent were found to have UTIs.

Musa Sekikubo, the head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences observes that the trend of inappropriate use of antibiotics has contributed to drug resistance and inadvertently rendered the first line of drugs ineffective.

Sekikubo says that most of the women with UTI symptoms were ‘misdiagnosed’ because some of the symptoms used to clinically diagnose UTIs are also common at some stages of pregnancy.

Sekikubo observes that most antenatal clinics are located in rural areas and run by nurses and assistants with no consultation by medical doctors and with no diagnostic equipment, which leads them to issue antibiotics based on symptoms alone.

He adds that to decrease antibiotic consumption, the nurses have to be able to evaluate the diagnostic tests by themselves.

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