The AMIS programme ran from 2017 to 2021, with the aim to promote and produced high-quality research on antimicrobials in society by building on social and interdisciplinary research for innovative and insightful solutions to antimicrobial resistance.
Visit our AMIS Hub website - www.antimicrobialsinsociety.org – an online resource connecting you with relevant research, people and projects on AMR from a societal perspective.
The AMIS team was comprised of a team of researchers in the UK, Thailand, and Uganda undertaking research into the nature of our reliance on antimicrobials in animal, human and plant life.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a potentially catastrophic global problem. Our use of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, has escalated. These medicines are now a routine part of everyday life. For example, we use antibiotics not only to cure infections but in anticipation of infection for people, animals, and crops. Through this project we proposed that the ways antibiotics are used is deeply embedded in the way our societies and economies work. It is important to understand the extent and nature of the way we have become intertwined with these medicines in order to understand the consequences of resistance and the best ways to reduce the threat of resistance.
Policy makers have agreed that to address AMR we must reduce our reliance on antibiotics. But how? The AMIS programme explored fresh approaches to the study of antimicrobials in society. Drawing on conceptual and methodological tools from anthropology, the AMIS research projects demonstrated the multiple roles that antimicrobials take in society today, and how they enable everyday life.
The AMIS programme aimed to stimulate engagement with social research that presents different ways of conceiving, responding to, and framing global health issues, including AMR.
Professor in Medical Anthropology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Clare’s research focus has been on the use of antimicrobial medicines and diagnostics in global health. She directs the LSHTM Antimicrobial Resistance Centre and leads the Anthropology of AMR research group.
Coll is an anthropologist of science from LSHTM’s Department of Global Health and Development. His current research explores the roles of moralising metaphors, modern myths and scientific knowledge in the production of different antibiotics and AMR politics.
Our research team in Thailand brings together leading medical anthropologists from Mahidol University and the Ministry of Public Health. Research will be based in Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok, and will include the mapping of antibiotic use, and the networks that antibiotics travel within, including in farms, factories, laboratories, and during medical practice. The research will also follow antibiotics, microbes, and discourses to national and international arenas.
Komatra has researched community health and social policy including community drug use, village health volunteers, and primary care in Thailand. As a medical anthropologist working in the Ministry of Public Health, his works are instrumental in integrating an anthropological perspective in health policy development and implementation.
Luechai Sringernyuang is an Associate Professor in medical anthropologist, Director of Health Social Science International Programme and Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Mahidol University, Thailand. He has extensive research experience in pharmaceutical use in Thailand, especially self-medication with modern pharmaceuticals in rural communities.
Phakha's research interest in AMR is to better understand the role of antimicrobials in daily life in Thai society, including with health care providers, farmers, day wage urban workers, scientists and policy-makers.
Panoopat is a medical sociologist and pharmacist who works as a faculty member at Department of Community Pharmacy, Silpakorn University. Panoopat has research experience in ethnographic studies on the phenomenon of medicine use by kathoeis (transgender women) to modify their bodies.
Thitima is an anthropologist at the Society and Health Institute. Thitima conducts ethnographic research focusing on antimicrobial use in tangerine plantations.
Uravadee is researcher at the Society and Health Institute. Her background is in Medicine and Medical Sociology. Uravadee wrote her master thesis on the medical socialization of Thai physicians. Currently, Uravadee is conducting research related to social factors affecting how Thai doctors prescribe antibiotics.
Wirun's research focuses on the use of the “bio-social interaction framework” - linking in-depth biological studies and social analysis - to understand the global and local problems of antimicrobial resistance.
Our research team in Uganda is based at the Infectious Disease Research Collaboration (IDRC). The research will involve three study sites, seeking to understand how antimicrobials shape and enable ways of life within health care facilities across Tororo, among urban workers in Kampala, and in different scales of chicken and pig farms in peri-urban Wakiso and rural Tororo.
Susan is a social scientist with the IDRC in Uganda. Her current research is on understanding the consequences of tackling antimicrobial resistance in Uganda. She is interested in understanding how the imperative to restrict antibiotics impacts care.
Professor of Malaria & Global Health, LSHTM and IDRC, Kampala, Uganda. Sarah is a clinical epidemiologist based in Uganda where she has conducted research since 1999. Her research is focused on methods to improve quality of care and fever case management, and novel approaches to prevent and control malaria.
Christine is a medical sociologist and pharmacist at the IDRC in Uganda. She has substantial experience in qualitative research informed by medical anthropology, with a special interest in researching health care delivery in low resource settings.
The AMIS programme is guided by a group of researchers, which span the humanities, biological, clinical, and social sciences, to give advice and support.
- Dr John Manton, LSHTM
- Professor Scott Podolsky, Harvard University
- Dr Claas Kirchhelle, Oxford University
- Professor Nik Brown, York University
- Professor Hannah Landecker, University of California Los Angeles
- Dr Jamie Lorimer, Oxford University
- Dr Uli Beisel, Bayreuth University
- Professor Steve Hinchliffe, University of Exeter
- Dr Richard Stabler, LSHTM
- Dr Harparkash Kaur, LSHTM
- Professor Richard Kock, Royal Veterinary College
- Professor Richard Smith, Exeter
- Professor Kara Hanson, LSHTM
Previous AMIS Contributors
Laurie Denyer Willis
Laurie is a medical anthropologist concerned with the urban and political ecologies of health and disease in post-colonial landscapes. Her research explores animal-human relations, religion, and shifting meanings of care.
Sittichoke Chawraingern (Ministry of Public Health Thailand)
Sittichoke has a Master degree of Anthropology and wrote his thesis about patients with mental illness. Currently, Sittichoke works under the Culture and Health risk project.
Our research team in Thailand brought together leading medical anthropologists from Mahidol University and the Ministry of Public Health. Research is based in Nakhon Pathom, near Bangkok, and includes the mapping of antibiotic use, and the networks that antibiotics travel within, including in farms, factories, laboratories, and during medical practice. The research follows antibiotics, microbes, and discourses to national arenas.
The AMIS Thailand: Ministry of Public Health project team consists of:
- Komatra Chuengsatiansup
- Sittichoke Chawraingern (Tum)
- Thitima Urapeepathanapong (Ying)
- Uravadee Chanchamsang (Aim)
- Wirun Limsawart
The AMIS Thailand: Mahidol University project team consists of:
Our research teams in Thailand have compiled two short films as part of the dissemination of key findings from their research. To view the films please visit the AMIS Youtube channel.
The research in Uganda was aimed to better understand the roles of antimicrobials in society and everyday life. We aimed to identify how antimicrobials shape and enable ways of life within health care facilities, among urban workers, and in animal farming. By researching how people actually use antimicrobials, including antibiotics, and the wide-reaching reasons for reliance on these drugs, to provide a detailed account that can be used by policy makers working on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Uganda today.
Using established social science methods, the team in Uganda provide fresh approaches to the study of antimicrobials in Ugandan society, to demonstrate how antibiotics are linked to social, economic, and political systems. Our research focused on antibiotics but also included antimalarials, antiretrovirals and antifungals. Project sites include Kampala, Wakiso, and Tororo.
How does social science contribute to the AMR research agenda in Uganda?
Social science research can assist in articulating the roles of antibiotics in everyday life in Uganda - for both people and animals- and in mapping their relationships to wider imperatives and infrastructures. This has helped reveal the wider effects that AMR pose, as well as informed potential consequences of policies to roll-back antimicrobial availability. With this knowledge, Ugandan policy makers can design policy tailored to our context in order to reduce the threat of AMR in Uganda.
Our research has focused on health workers and patients in Tororo district, with day-wage urban workers (factory workers, vendors, hawkers) in Nakawa Division, Kampala district, and in different scales of farming (piggery and poultry) in peri-urban Wakiso and rural Tororo district. It has also included detailed historical and archival research on Ugandan AMR policy guidelines, legal frameworks and regulations, both locally and globally, that will assist policy makers in charting future policy directions.
The AMIS Uganda project team consists of:
Ugandan Short Films
These short films show the AMIS Uganda research activities aimed at understanding the roles that antibiotics play in everyday life and the context within which antibiotics are used in rural Tororo, peri-urban Wakiso and urban Kampala.
The Antimicrobials in Society (AMIS) Project Uganda: A film about anthropological approaches to the study of antibiotic use for humans and animals in households and farms in rural, urban, and peri-urban settings in Uganda, East Africa.
Antibiotics as Hygiene: A film about antibiotic use in an urban informal settlement in Uganda
No medicine, no life: A film about everyday life and use of medicines to relieve pain and enable productivity in rural households in Tororo district, Eastern Uganda
Antibiotics as Protection: A film about antibiotic use in pig and poultry production in Wakiso district, Uganda
The AMIS Hub is an online resource that has brought together research relevant to AMR from across different social science disciplines, throughout the AMIS project. Aimed at those designing and implementing AMR policy, as well as researchers from the life sciences, the AMIS Hub introduces readers to a wealth of relevant social research on AMR. The AMIS Hub materials include research summaries, commentaries, reviews of existing and ongoing research and theory and highlights relevant events. We envisioned the Hub as a mechanism for policy-makers and life scientists to engage with social science research on AMR, to forge future collaborations and to inspire new ways to address AMR.