Risk Perception and Motivations in Antibiotic Usage and Reduction in Farming Communities in the Mekong Delta Province, Vietnam

Tran, Thi Anh Thu (2021). Risk Perception and Motivations in Antibiotic Usage and Reduction in Farming Communities in the Mekong Delta Province, Vietnam. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.000128c3

Abstract

To understand both favourable and unfavourable conditions around the efforts to reduce ABU, this study aimed to identify farmers' perception on their health risks posed by the use of antibiotics (ABs) and their motivations for using or reducing antibiotic usage (ABU) on animal farms. A mixed-methods approach, in two phases, was employed to study a cohort of 100 smallholder farmers, who owned small or medium-sized animal farms, in southern Vietnam.

Farmers had limited understanding of ABU and antibiotic resistance (ABR). Generally, they were unaware that ABs were used for treating bacterial infections (87, 87%), and that misusing ABs for food-animals could exacerbate ABR (77, 77%). Although farmers believed they used ABs in a “considered manner”, they self-prescribed (96%) and self-administered (77%) ABs for their animals. In practices, they accessed ABs over-the-counter to “supplement” ABs into medicated-commercial feed (49, 60.5%). They preferred their own experience (49, 60.5%) to consultations from local veterinarians (7, 8,6%) in making decisions about ABU due to own concerns about poor veterinary services. Attending local training events organized by vet-drug companies was identified as the risk factor for farmers to adopt ABU for non-therapeutic purposes [OR 4.1, 95% CI (1.2-14.4)]. Almost none of the farmers had any idea about ABR bacteria as a type of zoonoses. Instead, they were concerned that antibiotic residues would reduce food safety, which was also one of the non-economic considerations motivating the intentions and efforts to reduce ABU for animals among ‘Pioneer farmers’ (14, 17.3%). The latter was one of the three groups of farmers, whose willingness to reduce ABU was characterised to subgroup into ‘Pioneer’, ‘Hesitant’ and ‘Conventional’ farmer group.

Overall, the results indicated farmers’ poor awareness of ABR and inappropriate ABU, poor law compliance towards ABU regulation, and the untrusted relationship of farmers to local veterinarians. These were the unfavourable conditions in the public health’s efforts to reduce ABU. However, the example of the intention and efforts of ‘pioneer farmers’ were important in engaging other farmers in the practice of ABU reduction. ‘Pioneer farmers’ can act as a bridge between external resources and internal community efforts to promote appropriate ABU.

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