Skip to main content

Cohorts and community: A case study of community engagement in the establishment of a health and demographic surveillance site in Malaysia

Allotey, Pascale; Reidpath, Daniel D.; Devarajan, Nirmala; Rajagobal, Kanason; Yasin, Shajahan; Arunachalam, Dharmalingam; Imelda, Johanna Debora; Soyiri, Ireneous; Davey, Tamzyn; Jahan, Nowrozy; The Seaco Team


Pascale Allotey

Daniel D. Reidpath

Nirmala Devarajan

Kanason Rajagobal

Shajahan Yasin

Dharmalingam Arunachalam

Johanna Debora Imelda

Tamzyn Davey

Nowrozy Jahan

The Seaco Team


Background: Community engagement is an increasingly important requirement of public health research and plays an important role in the informed consent and recruitment process. However, there is very little guidance about how it should be done, the indicators for assessing effectiveness of the community engagement process and the impact it has on recruitment, retention, and ultimately on the quality of the data collected as part of longitudinal cohort studies. Methods: An instrumental case study approach, with data from field notes, policy documents, unstructured interviews, and focus group discussions with key community stakeholders and informants, was used to explore systematically the implementation and outcomes of the community engagement strategy for recruitment of an entire community into a demographic and health surveillance site in Malaysia. Results: For a dynamic cohort, community engagement needs to be an ongoing process. The community engagement process has likely helped to facilitate the current response rate of 85% in the research communities. The case study highlights the importance of systematic documentation of the community engagement process to ensure an understanding of the effects of the research on recruitment and the community. Conclusions: A critical lesson from the case study data is the importance of relationships in the recruitment process for large population-based studies, and the need for ongoing documentation and analysis of the impact of cumulative interactions between research and community engagement. © 2014 Pascale Allotey et al.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014-12
Journal Global Health Action
Print ISSN 1654-9716
Electronic ISSN 1654-9880
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 23176
APA6 Citation Allotey, P., Reidpath, D. D., Devarajan, N., Rajagobal, K., Yasin, S., Arunachalam, D., …The Seaco Team, . (2014). Cohorts and community: A case study of community engagement in the establishment of a health and demographic surveillance site in Malaysia. Global Health Action, 7(1), 23176.
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....cope&journalCode=zgha20


Article (564 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 Pascale Allotey et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations