CPA to launch the 'prescribing companion' app across Africa and Asia

The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) is excited to announce that the Prescribing Companion will be launching on 30 November 2022 - an antibiotics prescription smartphone app for accurate antimicrobial use (AMU) - to support Antimicrobial Stewardship in the human and animal health sectors across Africa and Asia.

Collaborating with global health partners in both regions, the app provides a centralised system for core AMR project delivery by availing prescribing guidelines and good practice resources to healthcare providers.

The home page of the prescribing companion app.

The app was developed as part of the Surveillance and Prescribing Support for Antimicrobial Stewardship Resource Capacity Building (SPARC) programme (running since January 2022) in collaboration with Taactum, a UK digital provider. The SPARC programme is funded by the Fleming Fund and managed by their Management Agent Mott MacDonald.

Supporting 22 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) across Africa and Southeast Asia, the app now has extended its reach beyond the four African countries (Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia) supported in the pilot app.

The app will also reach beyond the 14 Commonwealth countries (Bangladesh, Eswatini, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia) to nine LMICs outside the Commonwealth (Bhutan, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Senegal, Timor Leste, Vietnam, Zimbabwe).

In line with One Health principles, we have also expanded the scope of the programme to include both human and animal health guidelines.

Currently, the Prescribing Companion is live for 13 of the 22 countries including; Uganda, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Timor-Leste, Nepal and Malawi.

App Champions

The CPA’s SPARC team has worked collaboratively with a broad range of country stakeholders throughout the design and development process. In addition, they have appointed and trained App Champions from each country with the role of ‘superusers’ to maintain and update the app, allowing further adaptation to suit different contexts and country ownership.

At the time of the launch, the app will have international AMS and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) resources and 10 National antimicrobial guidelines uploaded. App Champions will be supported in uploading more national guidelines as the programme continues.

The app is designed to:

Dr Samantha Weston - Senior Programme Manager (SPARC), Head of Programmes (CPA), said:

“The launch of the CPA’s Prescribing Companion app in November 2022 will provide up-to-date access to prescribing guidelines and good practice AMS resources to hundreds, possibly thousands, of users across up to 22 countries over the next four years and into the future.

“The development of the app has been a truly global, truly collaborative effort. From its inception CPA colleagues across the globe have provided support in the design of the app, using skills as frontline health workers to determine useful material to include, and to provide feedback on the user interface.”

“Colleagues at Tactuum in the UK supported the creative flow and were incredibly flexible with requirements for a robust governance system to ensure the accuracy of the materials provided.”

“App Champions across thirteen countries to date have worked tirelessly to bring the App to the attention of Ministries of Health to ensure uptake can be endorsed at the highest levels. The Prescribing Companion belongs to each and every one of both the people involved in its creation, and its future users - bringing valuable guidance to reduce AMR.”

Fleming Fund Regional Coordinator for South Asia at Mott MacDonald, Vikas Aggarwal, added:

“Irrational use of medicines, especially antibiotics is a major problem worldwide. With this application practitioners will have easy access to the treatment guidelines, which will promote rationale use of antibiotics.”

“CPA has developed this app in active collaboration with local country stakeholders, which will not only help for greater usage, given country ownership, but this app can easily be adapted to cater to other needs as per country requirement.”

Next steps

The CPA will continue working with the in-country App Champions, stakeholders and the app developer to:

Download the smartphone Prescribing Companion app on Google Play Store and Apple iOs for offline use. It can also be accessed online via the website.

Disclaimer Notice: Please note that this app is intended for use by only healthcare professionals and not the general public. Each individual country (not the CPA) holds responsibility for developing, reviewing and keeping resources up-to-date, for their country section.

For more information about the Prescribing Companion, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

We value your feedback, contact us for any technical enquiries on or sparcappfeedback@commonwealthpharmacy for any inquiries on guidelines or content.

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