Review Article

Laboratory systems as an antibacterial resistance containment tool in Africa

Iruka N. Okeke
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 5, No 3 | a497 | DOI: | © 2016 Iruka N. Okeke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2016 | Published: 31 October 2016

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Iruka N. Okeke, Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

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Introduction: As crucial as clinical laboratories are to preventing, identifying and managing resistance problems, laboratory scientists are among the most overlooked stakeholders. This review outlines the contributions that diagnostic laboratory systems should make toward all five of the World Health Organization’s 2015 strategic objectives for antimicrobial resistance containment.

Laboratory systems in resistance containment: Antimicrobial susceptibility testing and surveillance are central to antibacterial resistance management and control and need to be implemented more commonly and closer to sick patients. However, the scope of tests that promote judicious antimicrobial use extend beyond susceptibility testing. Laboratory tests for pathogens or their associated biomarkers confirm or rule out specific causes of signs and symptoms associated with infection. Laboratory systems also provide critical support to infection control programmes. All of these functions promote rational antimicrobial use and contain the spread of resistance. Routine laboratory data supports the development of vaccines and other technologies that could ease the pressure placed by antimicrobials. Laboratories are also a rich source of information for health professionals, policymakers and the general public about the urgency of the resistance problem and progress in containing it.

Conclusion: Laboratory systems are integral to antimicrobial resistance containment and contributions from African laboratories to addressing resistance need to be enhanced.


Antimicrobial resistance; Antibiotic resistance; Laboratories; Susceptibility testing


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