Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Trop. 1996 Apr;61(2):79-92.

Paradigms lost: toward a new understanding of community participation in health programmes.

Author information

Human Nutrition Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.


Community participation has been a critical part of health programmes, particularly since the acceptance of primary health care as the health policy of the member states of the World Health Organisation. However, it has rarely met the expectations of health planners/professionals. This paper argues that the reason for this failure is that community participation has been conceived in a paradigm which views community participation as a magic bullet to solve problems rooted both in health and political power. For this reason, it is necessary to use a different paradigm which views community participation as an iterative learning process allowing for a more eclectic approach to be taken. Viewing community participation in this way will enable more realistic expectations to be made. Community participation in disease control programmes focusing on community health workers is used as an example to show the limitations of the old paradigm. Participatory rapid appraisal is used to illustrate the new.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center