“Since the early 1970s, participatory approaches involving community members have been used in the public health sector as a strategy to improve the quality of health services as well as their accessibility. The approaches and their underlying concepts, frameworks and methods have varied greatly in past and present. Today, although many organisations promote the use of community participation in public health research and interventions, the feasibility and impact of these approaches often remain uncertain because of the challenge of generating sound evidence on results and outcomes. Other questions on the actual value, sustainability and equity of these approaches have also been raised. In recent years, there has been a heightened interest in strengthening the evidence base of these participatory approaches, to elaborate specific international guidelines and standards and implement effective and sustainable approaches.

The Swiss TPH Spring Symposium 2015 provided a platform to reflect on the added value of community participatory approaches in public health. Starting with an overview of the current major debates in the field, presentations and discussions then focuses on the added value and challenges in putting into practice these approaches. Speakers presented various ways and reasons for involving community members in clinical and social science research, as well as in project implementation. Critical perspectives were addressed such as the feasibility, sustainability and equity of these approaches and whether these approaches can actually contribute to increasing quality of research and services, stronger accountability within the health system, and ultimately better health outcomes, with a particular focus on the most marginalised and vulnerable populations.”

The Swiss TPH is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland.
The conference documentation with all presentations is available now.