Inscrutable drugs and elusive experts: the quest for cattle therapy in Nigeria and Zambia

Speaker: Dr Pete Kingsley # Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh

10th Nov 2014

15:30 - 17:00

Conference Room, David Hume Tower


Substandard drugs have long been a major human health problem in developing countries, and similar issues also beset the veterinary drug industry.  Whilst less immediately costly to human life, the failure of veterinary treatment can be devastating for rural livelihoods.  Although there are some scientific studies of the problem, the social processes by which such products are traded and used are rarely considered.  This research attempts to trace drugs as they pass through the supply chain, from importers and distributors, to vendors and customers.

There are two strands to my analysis.  Firstly, I discuss how efforts towards building reputation and trust are hampered by the elusive nature of drugs.  Drug quality is impossible to gauge visually, and the treatment failure that substandard drugs can produce also has other causes, confusing the issue.  Secondly, following the prolonged neglect of Nigeria’s livestock services, veterinary expertise has become splintered and diffuse: I discuss the nature and consequences of this situation.