Uses of participatory epidemiology


Community-based animal health systems

Probably the most common use of PE has been during animal health surveys and problem analysis during the early stage of community-based animal health worker (CAHW) projects. Typically, a ‘quick and dirty’ approach has been used with one-off use of methods and limited triangulation with other PE methods or conventional investigation. However, many initiatives based on this use of PE have shown good success. For example, rinderpest control in the Afar region of Ethiopia and in southern Sudan was achieved via CAHW programmes arising from participatory analysis with communities.
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Impact assessment

Increasingly, PE methods are also being used in impact assessment of CAHW programmes. For example, 'before and after’ methods enable local perceptions of changing disease patterns to be understood and related to possible causes, such as the activities of CAHWs. Indirect PE methods can also be a useful way to assess the impact of specific diseases.
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Participatory disease searching

Participatory disease searching (PDS) evolved in the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign and used pastoralists’ knowledge of rinderpest to locate disease outbreaks in remote areas. The approach was based on PE methods such as semi-structured interviews and in particular, the use of probing questions to delve deeply into local knowledge about rinderpest. Also, mapping and time-lines were used to build an historical picture of rinderpest outbreaks in a given area.
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Research

PE has been used in various types of descriptive, exploratory and analytical research.
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