Reducing Antimicrobial Usage in Small-Scale Chicken Farms in Vietnam: A 3-Year Intervention Study.
Phu DH., Cuong NV., Truong DB., Kiet BT., Hien VB., Thu HTV., Yen LK., Minh NTT., Padungtod P., Setyawan E., Thwaites G., Rushton J., Carrique-Mas J.
Indiscriminate antimicrobial use (AMU) in animal production is a driver of antimicrobial resistance globally. There is a need to define sustainable interventions to reduce AMU in small-scale production systems, which currently represent the most widespread farming systems in South East Asia and many low- and middle-income countries. We conducted a before-and-after intervention study on a random sample of small-scale chicken farms in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam from 2016 to 2019. The study included a baseline followed by an intervention phase where farmers were provided with regular veterinary advice on flock health and husbandry, as well as antimicrobial replacement products. Of 102 recruited farms (raising >100 chickens per flock cycle), thirty-five (34.2%) entered the intervention phase, whilst the rest stopped raising chickens, mainly due to suboptimal flock performance. Through the implementation of our intervention, chicken flocks reduced levels of AMU by 66% [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.34; p = 0.002) from a baseline of 343.4 Animal Daily Doses per 1,000 chicken-days and decreased weekly mortality by 40% (adjusted HR = 0.60; p = 0.005) from a baseline mortality of 1.60 per 100 birds. Chicken bodyweight increased by 100 g (p = 0.002) in intervention flocks. Our findings demonstrate that the provision of veterinary advice can achieve substantial reductions in AMU in small-scale production systems without compromising flock health and productivity.