Trust, risk and uncertainty in medicinal transactions in sub-Saharan Africa


  • Dr Kate Hampshire

    Durham University

Project summary

Medicines are at the centre of a major global public health crisis. Widespread counterfeiting and unprecedented global traffic of pharmaceuticals have created significant trust problems for patients and others, particularly where regulation is weak, with serious risks for individual and public health. We propose to develop a robust analytical framework to understand the mechanisms that foster the production of trust in medicinal transactions in sub-Saharan Africa. Our question is: how, under conditions of uncertainty and informational asymmetry, do actors (consumers and providers) come to trust and distrust particular medicines, and how does this shape practice?

Our goal is to bring together the richness of ethnographic enquiry with the powerful analytical approaches offered by Behavioural Game Theory in order to address this pressing global public health problem. This Seed Award will be used to conduct a pilot and feasibility study in Ghana and Tanzania; collect preliminary data to underpin theoretical and methodological development; build/consolidate international academic and stakeholder partnerships; and develop local research capacity. This is particularly important given the theoretically-novel and ambitious nature of the proposed larger study which will be submitted for a Wellcome Collaborative Award, and the new international, interdisciplinary research consortium we are building.