Health and Antibiotics in Vietnamese Pig Production

Vietnam’s economy and population are growing rapidly. Production and consumption of animal products are increasing even faster. To manage pig diseases and increase meat production, farmers are turning to antibiotics and other antimicrobials, creating a hotbed for zoonotic diseases and resistance to antibiotic drugs.

Research has linked heavy use of veterinary antibiotics to a rise of antibiotic resistance in humans, in part through contaminated food products. WHO regards antibiotic resistance as one of the most important threats to human health because diminished effectiveness of antibiotic treatments. Tainted food also threatens consumer trust and the long-term health of the pig industry.

At present much is unknown about the scale and the drivers of the problem. Early sampling studies have found alarming rates of antibiotics use, antibiotic resistance in pigs and antibiotic drug residues in pork, but firm data is lacking.

Even less is known about the drivers of antibiotic use at the farm level. We do not know how farmers perceive risks and benefits of antibiotic use, on which information they act, or how information, regulation and stakeholder interaction could foster more prudent antibiotic use practices. However, it is clear that Vietnam needs effective, evidence-based intervention strategies to reduce antibiotic use in its pig industry, tailored to local circumstances and stakeholders.

The VIDA-PIG project will help fill these gaps. It will use established ‘One Health’ approaches to map the many drivers of antibiotics use and antibiotic resistance across the Vietnamese pig value chain. It will collect baseline data, set up local stakeholder networks, garner insight into stakeholders’ knowledge and rationale and do small-scale testing of a newly designed intervention.

Project outcomes will be used to design and test larger, well targeted interventions aimed at reducing antibiotic resistance risks for Vietnamese consumers, patients and farmers.

The project runs from 2018 to 2020 and  is funded by Danida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.


Britt Tersbøl
Associate Professor

+45 35 33 74 47