Perceptions of effective policy interventions and strategies to address antibiotic misuse within primary healthcare in India: A qualitative study

M. Nair*, N. Engel, M.P. Zeegers, S. Burza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Antimicrobial resistance poses a major public health threat. Despite Indian retail sector antibiotic consumption per capita increasing by approximately 22% between 2008 and 2016, empirical studies that examine policy or behavioural interventions addressing antibiotic misuse in primary healthcare are scarce. Our study aimed to assess perceptions of interventions and gaps in policy and practice with respect to outpatient antibiotic misuse in India.Methods: We conducted 23 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a variety of key informants with diverse backgrounds in academia, non-government organisations, policy, advocacy, pharmacy, medicine and others. Data were charted into a framework matrix and analysed using a hybrid, inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Themes were analysed and organised according to the socio-ecological model at various levels ranging from the individual to the enabling environment.Results: Key informants largely focused on the importance of adopting a structural perspective to addressing socio-ecological drivers of antibiotic misuse. There was a recognition that educational interventions targeting individual or interpersonal interactions were largely ineffective, and policy interventions should incorporate behavioural nudge interventions, improve the healthcare infrastructure and embrace task shifting to rectify staffing disparities in rural areas.Conclusions: Prescription behaviour is perceived to be governed by structural issues of access and limitations in public health infrastructure that create an enabling environment for antibiotic overuse. Interventions should move beyond a clinical and individual focus on behaviour change with respect to antimicrobial resistance and aim for structural alignment between existing disease specific programs and between the informal and formal sector of healthcare delivery in India.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • policy
  • structural
  • behavioural
  • qualitative

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