Participatory Epidemology
Man on ground

About Participatory Epidemiology

There is no standard definition of participatory epidemiology (PE). Based on a review of veterinary uses of PE published in 2012, the following working definition was proposed:

Participatory epidemiology is the systematic use of participatory approaches and methods to improve understanding of diseases, and options for disease control. This definition refers to both a 'participatory approach' and 'participatory methods', indicating that an understanding of both apprach and methods are needed to define PE.

The term 'participatory' in PE refers to the essential involvement of communities in defining and prioritizing veterinary-related problems, and in the development of solutions to service delivery, disease control or surveillance. For some workers, the use of the term PE to describe activities that do not involve communities in these ways is viewed as a misnomer - meaningful community participation is an essential element of PE. 

Some other important features of PE are:

Participatory epidemiology is a relatively new branch of epidemiology which is still developing. The approach is based on qualitative inquiry and complements the qualitative nature of standard veterinary investigation procedures. According to the needs of a given community or organisation, participatory epidemiology can also combine the benefits of participatory approaches and methods with quantitative inquiry.