Treating urinary tract infections in public sector primary healthcare facilities in Cape Town, South Africa: A pharmaceutical perspective

N Keuler, Y Johnson, R Coetzee


Background. Antibiotic resistance is a global healthcare burden complicating the management of infections. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are commonly treated in primary care. Managing UTIs appropriately in primary care can combat antibiotic resistance. The treatment practices for UTIs in primary care in Western Cape Province, South Africa, are not well described.

Objectives. To describe treatment of UTIs in adults in primary care in the Cape Town metropole public sector of the Western Cape.

Methods. A retrospective multicentre medical records review of patients diagnosed with UTIs was conducted during 1 October 2020 - 28 February 2021. Six public sector primary healthcare facilities were included in the study through random selection from three of the four substructures in the Cape Town metropole. Medical records of adult patients diagnosed with UTIs, through clinical diagnosis or microbiological testing, were identified via a selective sampling process. Data were collected from medical records using a standardised data collection tool.

Results. A total of 401 UTI episodes occurred in 383 patients during the study period. The majority of UTI episodes (84.3%) occurred in females, complicated UTIs (74.1%) were more common than uncomplicated UTIs, and nitrofurantoin (57.1%) was frequently prescribed, followed by ciprofloxacin (39.7%). Compliance with urine microscopy recommendations was low (6.7%), and antibiotics were appropriately selected in 75.0% of uncomplicated and 70.0% of complicated UTI episodes.

Conclusion. Interventions are required to improve compliance with treatment recommendations as per the standard treatment guidelines, especially when selecting the appropriate antibiotic, duration of therapy and urine microscopy

Authors' affiliations

N Keuler, School of Pharmacy, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Y Johnson, Western Cape Government Health, Cape Town, South Africa

R Coetzee, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (197KB)


Nitrofurantoin; Ciprofloxacin; Urinary tract infection; Antibiotic resistance; Primary care

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2022;112(7):487-493.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-07-01
Date published: 2022-07-01

Article Views

Abstract views: 9779
Full text views: 2263

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here