Valuing health and valuing the efficacy of intravenous (IV) treatment in rural China
PHE ePoster Library. Chen M. Apr 9, 2019; 257527; 15455
Meixuan Chen
Meixuan Chen
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Abstract This paper will present findings from qualitative interviews undertaken as part of a larger inter-disciplinary study of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in rural China. Over 60 semi-structured interviews were conducted in three counties, examining how rural residents and families use antibiotics to treat symptoms related to RTI and value their health in the context of massive rural-to-urban migration and rapidly changing family life. Intravenous treatments are readily available and perceived to be a potent 'quick fix' for many common symptoms. There has been an unprecedented surge since the late 1990s in the availability of IV treatment in village and township outpatient clinics as part of the government's medical modernization scheme. People need to get back to work as quickly as possible and believe antibiotics drips help them to do so. Valuing health is very much related to the values of work, study or caring one's family: a sense of obligation to “get better quickly” leads rural residents to opt for “hanging water” or “drips” for common cold or flu symptoms. In some cases, people proactively seek “good water” via IV to make them feel more energetic for their daily routine such as caring duties rather than to address any symptom or illness. Seeking IV treatment is not only perceived as a short-term solution, but also as a strategy to enhance individual and family long-term wellbeing, although at odds with the risk to health posed by “anti-drug resistance”, of which there is some degree of awareness. The paper aims to unpack the tensions between a highly technical biomedical intervention among the lay public and its local valuation in supporting family well-being; and between individual responsibilities for wellness and the collective issues of antimicrobial resistance. Funding Co-funed by the Newton Fund of Medical Research Council UK and National Natural Science Foundation of China
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