Antibiotic treatments ‘outdated’ as study shows thousands of babies dying from preventable infection

9 June 2023



9 June 2023 

The World Health Organization has been urged to update its guidelines on the use of antibiotics in developing countries after a study found that thousands of infants were dying from infections that could be prevented.

The study, which stretched over 11 countries and involved over 3,200 babies, is one of the largest of its kind ever conducted and suggests that western policy guidelines around the use of antibiotics may be causing more harm than good in Africa and other developing areas.

“WHO guidelines are absolutely outdated,” said Professor Angela Dramowski, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town and one of the paper’s lead authors.

“Until now guidelines were generated from high income country settings, and try to apply it to the African context. And there’s clearly a mismatch.”

The study, conducted by the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, focused on rates of sepsis – the body’s extreme response to an infection – in neonatal babies.


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