European Antibiotics Awareness Day: Why social scientists are needed to address the challenge of drug-resistant infections

Helen Lambert, the ESRC AMR Research Champion, is a social anthropologist at the University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medicine, who has done a vast range of health-related qualitative research.

Her research interests include the application of anthropology to public health research and evaluation; lay perceptions of illness and health-seeking practices in India and the UK; indigenous therapeutic traditions in South Asia; HIV and sexual health; people’s understandings of suicide; lay perceptions of risk; and notions of evidence in medicine, epidemiology and anthropology.

Helen Lambert

Here – marking European Antibiotics Awareness Day – Helen looks at the role social scientists can play in addressing the challenge of drug-resistant infections:

The global health problem of drug-resistant infections has been identified as a key issue for the UK, and the threat posed has been likened to terrorism or global warming.  To date, many of the proposed solutions have focused on new technologies, such as the £10 million Longitude prize to develop a new diagnostic test for bacterial infections. Yet the phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance is largely a consequence of human action, and both its drivers and its consequences are socially patterned.

Continue reading