Assessing the impact of a national social marketing campaign for antimicrobial resistance on public awareness, attitudes, and behaviour, and as a supportive tool for healthcare professionals, England, 2017 to 2019
We studied the impact of a national public health campaign in England on antimicrobial resistance and correct antibiotic usage. We assessed the public’s campaign recognition and if knowledge, awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance improved. We also checked if reports of correct antibiotic usage increased, if general practitioners felt more confident to decline antibiotics and if patients’ expectations for antibiotics reduced.
We learnt that a campaign on antimicrobial resistance which uses marketing to encourage behaviour change that is beneficial to society (social marketing) and which is promoted via multiple channels, including television, social media and patient resources (e.g. information leaflets and posters) helps to improve public knowledge on its key messages and supports general practitioners’ confidence to prescribe antibiotics appropriately.
Our findings suggest that campaigns using a multifactorial, social marketing approach may increase public knowledge and concern about antimicrobial resistance. However, whether campaigns actually lead to reduced antibiotic use and decreases in antimicrobial-resistant infections needs to be further investigated with outcomes that we can measure, such as events of inappropriate prescribing or occurrences of antimicrobial resistant infections.
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