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Marco J Haenssgen

D.Phil. (Oxon), M.Phil. (Oxon), B.Sc. (EBS)


Postdoctoral Scientist - Health Policy and Systems

Researcher in International Development & Global Health, background in development finance, mobile technology, evaluation

Podcast interview

There is long tradition of social sciences in medicine, and the communication with the medical sciences is now improving. Social researchers can help, for instance, better design clinical trials to include social factors, contextualise interventions and put the results at a population level perspective.

Graphic capture of Marco's presentation at OTN 2018, by Drawnalism

Social science (Development Studies)

Dr Marco J Haenssgen is a social scientist with a background in management and international development and experience in aid evaluation, intergovernmental policy making, and management consulting. His research emphasises marginalization and health behaviour in the context of health policy implementation, technology diffusion, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). His AMR-related research in Southeast Asia focuses on population behaviour, how people understand antibiotics and illness, their constraints in accessing healthcare, and the intended and unintended consequences of AMR interventions. His research also involves antibiotic-related public engagement activities with villagers in northern Thailand and southern Lao PDR. His current AMR-related research projects include:

Antibiotics and Activity Spaces (Thailand, Lao PDR)

A survey of 5,885 villagers in Chiang Rai (Thailand) and Salavan (Lao PDR) to better understand (1) how people access healthcare and what actually counts as “problematic” antibiotic use, (2) whether antibiotic-related information from educational activities spreads or simply evaporates in village community networks, and (3) whether there are simple “early warning” indicators (e.g. specific symptoms) to detect whether people are likely to have “problematic” antibiotic use. The surveys are currently being implemented by 10-member survey teams in each country and expected to be finished in April 2018. This project is funded by the Antimicrobial Resistance Cross Council Initiative supported by the seven research councils in partnership with the Department of Health and Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (grant ref. ES/P00511X/1, administered by the UK Economic and Social Research Council).

Survey villages in mountainous areas of Chiang Rai, Thailand

Antibiotic Supply and Demand (Thailand)

A related qualitative study that focuses in particular on the interplay of healthcare demand and supply of economically and socially less privileged groups in Chiang Rai. The qualitative work involves interviews with members of the general population as well as private and informal healthcare providers, and aims to inform and develop the theory of supply-induced demand at the interface between the general population and health systems.

Drug card with common antibiotics used during interviews in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Social Context of Biomarker Testing to Reduce Antibiotic Prescriptions (Thailand, Myanmar)

This social research project is integrated into a clinical study led by Prof Yoel Lubell to test the effect of C-reactive protein (CRP) biomarker tests (finger-prick blood tests) on the antibiotic prescription behaviour of nurses and doctors in primary care health centres in Chiang Rai (Thailand) and Yangon (Myanmar). Drawing on qualitative data from 131 respondents, the social research contributes to a better understanding of (a) the quantitative outcomes of the clinical trial, (b) how the introduction of a new diagnostic technology interacts with existing behaviours and conceptions among patients and healthcare workers, (c) the cross-cultural differences in behaviour in Southeast Asia, and (d) contextual factors that influence the effectiveness and usefulness of clinical interventions at the primary care level.

C-reactive point-of-care testing in Yangon, Myanmar

Recent publications

More publications