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In the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, poultry farmers use high amounts of antimicrobials, but little is known about the drivers that influence this usage. We aimed to identify these drivers using a novel approach that combined participatory epidemiology (PE) and Q-sorting (a methodology that allows the analysis of the subjectivity of individuals facing a common phenomenon). A total of 26 semi-structured collective interviews were conducted with 125 farmers representative of the most common farming systems in the area (chickens, meat ducks, and mobile grazing ducks), as well as with 73 farmers' advisors [veterinarians, veterinary drug shop owners, and government veterinarians/commune animal health workers (CAHWs)] in five districts of Dong Thap province (Mekong Delta). Through these interviews, 46 statements related to the antimicrobials' perceived reliability, costs, and impact on flock health were created. These statements were then investigated on 54 individuals (28 farmers and 26 farmers' advisors) using Q-sorting interviews. Farmers generally indicated a higher propensity for antimicrobial usage (AMU) should their flocks encounter bacterial infections (75.0-78.6%) compared with viral infections (8.3-66.7%). The most trusted sources of advice to farmers were, in decreasing order: government veterinarian/CAHWs, their own knowledge/experience, veterinary drug shop owners, and sales persons from pharmaceutical and feed companies. The highest peak of AMU took place in the early phase of the production cycle. Farmers and their advisors showed considerable heterogeneity of attitudes with regards to AMU, with, respectively, four and three discourses representing their views on AMU. Overall, farmers regarded the cost of AMU cheaper than other disease management practices implemented on their farms. However, they also believed that even though these measures were more expensive, they would also lead to more effective disease prevention. A key recommendation from this finding would be for the veterinary authorities to implement long-term sustainable training programs aiming at reducing farmers' reliance on antimicrobials.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in veterinary science

Publication Date





Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.