Understanding antimicrobials use: An ethnographic study of rural communities in Burkina Faso

Project Details


The discovery of antibiotics has saved many lives. However, indiscriminate usage has resulted in the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the ability of microbes to develop resistance to the drugs used to control them. It is now widely recognized that in order preserve their effectiveness and limit further development of drug resistance, antimicrobials have to be used rationally. Thus, there is a need for global initiatives to manage distribution and usage of antibiotics, and to transform public perceptions of how and why antibiotics are used. Promoting rational antibiotic use in low-income settings is challenging. Healthcare systems are frequently under-resourced in social conditions marked by poverty, compelling health practitioners to prescribe antibiotics without clear diagnostic results, and communities to self-medicate using over-the-counter sale of antibiotics. Improved knowledge of the socioeconomic conditions within which antibiotics are prescribed or used can be utilized to inform interventions designed to optimize prescription practices and prevent further development of AMR. This ethnographic study seeks to understand the cultural and socioeconomic conditions that drive antibiotic use in rural Burkina Faso. Using a mixed-methods design, the study aims to generate knowledge of how, why and when antibiotics are prescribed and used; the infrastructural and health constraints that rural communities face; and how this shapes antibiotic demand. The research will explore how people’s socioeconomic situations and daily activities relate to their antibiotic needs. The results will be analyzed using a theoretical framework informed by “social lives of medicines” theory that considers medicines as material things with social and cultural meanings and behaviours. The findings will contribute to the development of Burkina Faso’s National AMR Stewardship Plan.
Effective start/end date1/01/20 → …

IWETO expertise domain

  • B680-public-health