By Christie Cabral, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Academic Primary Care , University of Bristol
As a social anthropologist, I’ve been investigating why antibiotics are overused for over a decade and using the insights gained to develop antibiotic stewardship interventions. For World Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness Week, I am writing about three key insights from my research.
1. The role of ‘Explanatory Models’ for illness and treatment: the influence on consulting and prescribing behaviours
Explanatory models are the set of linked ideas or theories that we each have in our minds about an illness and the possible treatments. These inform what we do as a patient, deciding whether to consult, or as a clinician deciding whether to prescribe.
The (simplified) biomedical model for the infections is of two types: viral or bacterial. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections but are ineffective for viral infections. So, it’s simple, no one … Read more
by Gemma Lasseter, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol
In the UK, government policy on whether to fund new vaccines, or modify their availability, is based on advice from an independent scientific advisory group. This involves weighing up the benefits and costs, and then deciding whether a vaccine is value for money.
The idea is to find a balance between the cost of doing something (such as routinely vaccinating all children against a particular disease) and how much benefit you get from doing it (such as health gains by preventing disease and the associated economic savings).
Yet the current approach does not take into account many of the benefits that vaccinations offer and which set them apart from other health interventions. The fact that vaccinations are preventative rather than curative, for … Read more