27 Jul 2021
– Clare Chandler – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

We are delighted to release our AMIS Final Report. The report summarises the key activities, findings and outputs from the Antimicrobials in Society (AMIS) programme (2017-2021).

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The AMIS programme began with the premise that as a potentially catastrophic global problem caused by the actions of humans, addressing antimicrobial resistance requires strong social research. Our focus in this project was on the increasing use of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics. These medicines, now a routine part of everyday life, are used not only to cure infections but in anticipation of infection for people, animals, and crops. Our team proposed that the ways antibiotics are used is deeply embedded in the ways our societies and economies work. We argued for the importance of understanding the extent and nature of the ways in which we have become intertwined with these medicines, in order to understand the consequences of resistance and the best ways to reduce it as a threat.

The AMIS programme promoted fresh approaches to the study of antimicrobials in society. The AMIS co-investigators – from the UK, Thailand and Uganda – aimed to explicate the rich social material worlds that antimicrobials inhabit and travel within, and in doing so offer policy-makers, scientists, and funders new ways to conceptualise and act upon AMR.

The AMIS programme ran from April 2017 to July 2021 and comprised two parallel work strands – empirical research and dissemination, and the AMIS Hub. Drawing on conceptual and methodological tools primarily from anthropology, but in conversation with other disciplines, the AMIS research projects in Thailand and Uganda carried out a series of case studies that traced out the multiple roles that antimicrobials take in society today, and how they enable everyday life. Each case study engaged with different stakeholders throughout the project, with dissemination of findings a core objective. The www.antimicrobialsinsociety.org website, newsletter, events and social media activity aimed to promote fresh approaches in social research on AMR. Our primary audience was the AMR community, comprising other social scientists, other researchers, funders, policy makers and practitioners.

Our report describes the AMIS programme structure, the research and findings, the AMIS Hub activities and the outputs of the programmes including written, video and other materials.