Understanding antibiotic use

To understand the drivers of antibiotic resistance, we need to understand how and why people use antibiotics. Drawing on ethnographic methods, antibiotic surveys and participatory approaches the DRUM social research team is exploring how antibiotics are used in households in urban and peri-urban Blantyre. Drawing on these insights to develop interventions that reflect peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

Ethnographic and participatory approaches to understand the context of antibiotic use

This workstrand aims to:

  • identify the main antibiotics commonly used in daily life both for humans and animals
  • understand the social, cultural and political context in which this prescribing and use is situated.

Specifically, we are using a combination of antibiotic surveys, ethnographic and participatory approaches to explore

  • how women and men living in low income, high density urban and peri-urban areas of Blantyre, Malawi use antibiotics in their everyday lives (and the lives of their children and animals)
  • how these practices are shaped by precarious livelihoods and gendered household relations.

We will also facilitate participatory processes to stimulate reflection on potential processes and actions that could ameliorate the problems for which antibiotic use has become a solution. This would form the first step in developing structural interventions to improve health and well-being and the effective use of medicines.