Taking opportunities, taking medicines: Antibiotic use in rural Eastern Uganda

Susan Nayiga*, Laurie Denyer Willis, Sarah G. Staedke, Clare I.R. Chandler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ways in which dimensions of health and healthcare intersect with economics and politics in particular contexts requires close attention. In this article we connect concerns about antibiotic overuse in Uganda to the social milieu created through policies that follow President Museveni’s vision for a population who kulembeka, “tap wealth.” Ethnographic fieldwork in rural Eastern Uganda illustrates how taking medicines in rural households reflects a wider landscape of everyday imperatives to “tap” opportunities in a context of acute precarity. We argue for a closer connection between medical and economic anthropology to push forward understanding of health, medicines and wellbeing in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-430
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number4
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2022


  • antibiotics
  • medicines
  • opportunity
  • precarity
  • rural
  • Uganda


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