Inappropriate antimicrobial use in livestock production is an important aspect of the global burden of antimicrobial resistance.
In Ethiopia, a low-income country with a large and increasing livestock population, antimicrobial use in food animals is not properly regulated. Hence, farmers are fully free to use antimicrobials to their perceived benefit.
Therefore, understanding farmers' mindsets is important to improve antimicrobial stewardship in the livestock sector.
It was in this light that a research study was conducted to assess livestock disease management practices and knowledge, attitude and behaviour among livestock producers in Ethiopia regarding antimicrobial use, residues and resistance. The study is published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science (May 2023).
The research team determined the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of 457 livestock owners of three selected districts of central and western Ethiopia, by a pretested questionnaire administered through face-to-face interviews. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between potential explanatory variables and the knowledge, attitude and behaviour scores of the respondents.
The results showed that 44% of the farmers used antimicrobials in the past few years, where antibiotics (21%) and trypanocides (11%) were most widely used to manage livestock diseases.
Most farmers had poor knowledge about antimicrobial use, residues and antimicrobial resistance (94%) and unfavorable attitudes (<50% correct answers) towards contributing factors for antimicrobial resistance (97%). On the contrary, 80% of respondents had overall good behaviour scores (≥50% correct answers) related to antimicrobial use.
Multivariate analysis results showed that having good knowledge, keeping ≥2 animal species and the occurrence of ≥4 livestock diseases on the farm in a year were strong predictors of bad behaviour scores (p < 0.05).
The study also revealed that the incidence of livestock diseases on the farm and a higher level of formal education significantly contributed to better knowledge and desirable attitudes but bad antimicrobial use behaviour.
A low level of awareness about and undesirable attitudes toward antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance could potentially affect farmers' behavior toward judicious antimicrobial use, thus requiring awareness creation efforts on livestock disease management practices.
Tufa, T.B., Regassa, F., Amenu, K., Stegeman, J.A. and Hogeveen, H. 2023. Livestock producers' knowledge, attitude, and behavior (KAB) regarding antimicrobial use in Ethiopia. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 10: 1167847.