Exploring community insights on antimicrobial resistance in Nepal: a formative qualitative study



Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the process by which microbes evolve mechanisms to survive the medicines designed to destroy them i.e. antimicrobials (AMs). Despite being a natural process, AMR is being hastened by the abuse of AMs. In context of Nepal, there is limited information on drivers of AMR and barriers in addressing it from a community perspective. This study explores the local language and terminology used around AMs in the community, commonly used AMs and reasons for their usage, how these AMs are sourced, and the perceived barriers to addressing AMR via One Health approach.


A phenomenological study design was utilized with applied qualitative research theoretically framed as pragmatism. Twelve in-depth interviews and informal discussions with a One Health focus, were purposively conducted with wide range of stakeholders and community resident of Kapilvastu municipality of Nepal during April 2022. The acquired data was analyzed manually via a thematic framework approach. The study obtained ethical approval from ethical review board of Nepal Health Research Council and University of Leeds.


Nepali and Awadhi languages does not have specific words for AMs or AMR, which is understandable by the community people. Rather, community use full explanatory sentences. People use AMs but have incomplete knowledge about them and they have their own local words for these medicines. The knowledge and usage of AMs across human and animal health is impacted by socio-structural factors, limited Government regulation, inadequate supply of AMs in local government health facilities and the presence of various unregulated health providers that co-exist within the health system. Novel ideas such as the use of visual and smart technology, for instance mobile phones and social media exposure, can enable access to information about AMs and AMR.


This study shows that terminology that is understandable by the community referring to AMs and AMR in Nepali and Awadhi languages does not exist, but full explanatory sentences and colloquial names are used. Despite regular utilisation, communities have incomplete knowledge regarding AMs. Since, knowledge alone cannot improve behaviour, behavioural interventions are required to address AMR via community engagement to co-produce their own solutions.

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