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This study examined the relationship between antimicrobial resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae and patterns of antimicrobial usage and over-the-counter dispensing by pharmacies in urban and rural districts of Vietnam. The antimicrobial susceptibility of S. pneumoniae carried by healthy urban and rural school children was determined. Questionnaires were distributed to parents to describe their healthcare-seeking behaviour. Mock parents presented standardized cases of mild respiratory infection and acute watery diarrhoea to pharmacies in the district surrounding each school. Penicillin resistance was significantly more common in S. pneumoniae carried by urban children compared to rural children as was recent antibiotic usage. Both urban and rural pharmacies showed high rates of dispensing inadequate antimicrobial regimens. The high level of antimicrobial resistance in S. pneumoniae may be related to greater antimicrobial usage. This may result from the much easier access to healthcare providers in urban areas and may suggest that relying solely on education without limiting access to outlets may have only limited impact. The results suggest a greater understanding of the subtleties of healthcare-seeking behaviour, and access to healthcare is needed to help refine and guide rationale suggestions to reduce the continued spread of drug resistance.



Journal of health, population, and nutrition

Publication Date





316 - 324


University of Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Nasal Cavity, Humans, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pneumococcal Infections, Penicillins, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Child, Child, Preschool, Rural Health, Urban Health, Community Pharmacy Services, Drug Utilization, Vietnam, Drug Prescriptions, Surveys and Questionnaires