Antibiotic prescribing for respiratory illness in paediatric outpatients: a baseline study in Asansol health district in West Bengal, India

Childhood acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) cause significant mortality and morbidity. It also accounts for antibiotic prescriptions and the development of resistant bacteria at the community level. This baseline study was carried out by MSF to understand current prescription practices for childhood ARI by Ministry of Health (MoH) physicians in Asansol, West Bengal. MSF plans to begin an antibiotic stewardship programme and run a new ARI clinic within Asansol District Hospital and Raniganj block primary health centre (BPHC), as part of an ongoing collaboration with the West Bengal MoH. This is the first prescription audit carried out in Asansol Health District. It essay outlines how open source methods of working could be applied to the discovery and development of new medicines. It summarises that there are many potential advantages of an open source approach, such as improved efficiency, the quality and relevance of the research, and wider participation by the scientific and patient communities; a blend of traditional and innovative financing mechanisms will have to be adopted. In order to properly evaluate the effectiveness of an open source methodology and its potential as an alternative model of drug discovery and development, we recommend that new projects be trialed and existing projects scaled up.

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