‘I don’t know if we can really, really change that’: a qualitative exploration of public perception towards antibiotic resistance in France

JAC Antimicrob Resist. 2020 Oct 3;2(3):dlaa073. doi: 10.1093/jacamr/dlaa073. eCollection 2020 Sep.


BACKGROUND: Since the 2000s, French authorities have put in place various national plans to make the general public aware of antibiotic stewardship. Twenty years later, France is still one of the countries with the highest use of antibiotics in Europe.

OBJECTIVES: Our study explored the general public's perceptions of antibiotic resistance, their behaviour around antibiotic use and their expectations regarding awareness campaigns.

METHODS: A qualitative study was performed from March 2018 to March 2019 in a French region using focus groups. Two types of public were targeted: parents of young children and retired people. The interview guide contained open-ended questions organized around three main themes: perceptions of antibiotic resistance; experience and use of antibiotics; and health information and campaigns.

RESULTS: Nine focus groups were created, including 17 parents and 19 retirees. Participants did not link antibiotic overuse and antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance was not perceived as a personal responsibility but as a suffered phenomenon on which the participants could not act. The blame was particularly put on the presence of antibiotics in the environment. Although participants expressed trust in their GPs, antibiotics remained perceived as the only solution for them to be cured quickly.

CONCLUSIONS: The study highlighted that the GPs were the preferred information source regarding the use of antibiotics. Actions targeting the public and health professionals will have little impact if, at the same time, efforts on work environment representation are not undertaken.

PMID:34223028 | PMC:PMC8209967 | DOI:10.1093/jacamr/dlaa073