Antibiotics (Sep 2021)
Antibiotic Use for Febrile Illness among Under-5 Children in Bangladesh: A Nationally Representative Sample Survey
Fever in children under five years of age is a common and predominantly self-limiting sign of illness. However, in low- and middle-income countries, antibiotics are frequently used in febrile children, although these children may not benefit from antibiotics. In this study, we explored the prevalence of, and factors associated with, antibiotic use in children under five years old with febrile illness in Bangladesh. We analysed data from the 2017–2018 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey to determine the prevalence of antibiotic use in children under five years of age with a febrile illness. We used a causal graph and performed a multivariable logistical regression to identify the factors associated with antibiotic use in children under five years old with febrile illness in Bangladesh. Of the 2784 children aged less than five years with fever included in our analysis, 478 (17%, 95% CI 15% to 19%) received antibiotics. Unqualified sources, including unqualified providers and pharmacies, contributed to 60% of antibiotic prescriptions in children with fever, followed by the private medical sector (29%) and the public sector (23%). The highest use of antibiotics was found in children under six months of age (25%). Children with parents who completed secondary or higher education were more likely to receive antibiotics (adjusted OR (aOR): 2.61 (95% CI 1.63 to 4.16)) than children whose parents did not complete primary education. Educational interventions promoting rational use of antibiotics and improved regulations governing over the counter purchase of antibiotics in Bangladesh may improve antibiotic dispensing practices.