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BACKGROUND: Increasing trends of antimicrobial resistance are observed around the world, driven in part by excessive use of antimicrobials. Limited access to diagnostics, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, contributes to diagnostic uncertainty, which may promote unnecessary antibiotic use. We investigated whether introducing a package of diagnostic tools, clinical algorithm, and training-and-communication messages could safely reduce antibiotic prescribing compared with current standard-of-care for febrile patients presenting to outpatient clinics in Uganda. METHODS: This was an open-label, multicenter, 2-arm randomized controlled trial conducted at 3 public health facilities (Aduku, Nagongera, and Kihihi health center IVs) comparing the proportions of antibiotic prescriptions and clinical outcomes for febrile outpatients aged ≥1 year. The intervention arm included a package of point-of-care tests, a diagnostic and treatment algorithm, and training-and-communication messages. Standard-of-care was provided to patients in the control arm. RESULTS: A total of 2400 patients were enrolled, with 49.5% in the intervention arm. Overall, there was no significant difference in antibiotic prescriptions between the study arms (relative risk [RR]: 1.03; 95% CI: .96-1.11). In the intervention arm, patients with positive malaria test results (313/500 [62.6%] vs 170/473 [35.9%]) had a higher RR of being prescribed antibiotics (1.74; 1.52-2.00), while those with negative malaria results (348/688 [50.6%] vs 376/508 [74.0%]) had a lower RR (.68; .63-.75). There was no significant difference in clinical outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This study found that a diagnostic intervention for management of febrile outpatients did not achieve the desired impact on antibiotic prescribing at 3 diverse and representative health facility sites in Uganda.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





S156 - S170


acute febrile illness, antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial stewardship, behavior change, point-of-care tests, Humans, Case Management, Uganda, Outpatients, Malaria, Fever, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Ambulatory Care Facilities, Communication, Algorithms