Pastoralists’ Social Networks in Access to and Use of Antibiotics: Implication on Drug Resistance in Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania
Social networks are important for enhancing sharing resources. However, access to and use of antibiotics without prescriptions through sharing can engender risk of antibiotic resistance problem. This paper examines actors involved in social networks and how they enable access to and use of antibiotics in livestock among Maasai Pastoralists in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Descriptive cross-sectional research design was adopted involving purposive and random sampling techniques. Household survey involved 221respondents for quantitative data. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted for getting qualitative data. Quantitative data were coded using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 24 for descriptive analysis involving frequency and percentages. Content analysis was employed for qualitative data categorised into various themes. Results from the study revealed that social networks enabled sharing of knowledge, information and antibiotics without prescriptions from veterinary experts. Actors involved included neighbours, friends, relatives, interest groups and traditional dealers connected with social ties based on trust as well as reciprocity. However, limited knowledge on antibiotics handling and administration, engendered misuse of drugs resulted to risk of antibiotics resistance. Therefore, awareness creation and capacity building on proper access to and use of antibiotics is important.