There is growing international concern about the threat to public health of the emergence and spread of bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics. An effective response must invest in both the development of new drugs and measures to slow the emergence of resistance. This paper addresses the former. It focuses on low and middle-income countries with pluralistic health systems, where people obtain much of their antibiotics in unorganised markets.
How do we explain the paradox that Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in health and human development, yet its achievements have taken place within a health system that is frequently characterised as weak, in terms of inadequate physical and human infrastructure and logistics, and low performing? We argue that the development of a highly pluralistic health system environment, defined by the participation of a multiplicity of different stakeholders and agents and by ad hoc, diffused forms of management has contributed to these outcomes by creating conditions for rapid change.