Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Education and awareness raising are the primary tools of global health policy to change public behaviour. Considering the limitations of awareness agenda and the lack of social research to inform alternative approaches, our objective was to generate new empirical evidence on the consequences of antibiotic-related awareness raising in a low-income country context. We implemented an educational activity in two Lao villages to share general antibiotic-related messages, but also to learn about people’s conceptions and health behaviours. Two rounds of census survey data enabled us to assess the activity’s outputs, its knowledge outcomes, and its immediate behavioural impacts in a difference-in-difference design. Our panel data covered 1,130 adults over two rounds, including 58 activity participants and 208 villagers exposed indirectly via conversations in the village. We found that activity-related communication circulated among more privileged groups, which limited its indirect effects. Among participants, the activity influenced the awareness and understanding of “drug resistance,” while effects on attitudes were minor. Evidence on behavioural impacts was sparse and mixed, but the range of possible consequences included a disproportionate uptake of antibiotics from formal healthcare providers. Our study casts doubt on the continued dominance of awareness raising as a behavioural tool to address antibiotic resistance.

Original publication




Publication Date