Community participation in vector borne disease control: facts and fancies

Ann Soc Belg Med Trop. 1991;71 Suppl 1:233-42.


The community involvement in solving their problems was spontaneous when the society as a whole had extensive control over the natural resources. However, this trend was lost during the industrial revolution when the social structure started disintegrating. Simultaneous discovery of antiparasitic drugs and powerful insecticides created a euphoria that all vector borne diseases could be controlled if not eradicated. Though the use of these tools resulted in control or eradication of vector borne diseases in many parts of the developed world, in poor developing countries the initial gains could not be sustained. This is partly due to non acceptance of technology by the beneficiary. Realizing that technology without the people is not going to solve the problem, the idea of community participation was revived. Since then, community participation has become a popular slogan and most programmes claim to have achieved community participation. The projects have not originated from the community and fail to differentiate between the gain achieved due to community effort and that due to the project personnel. The technical and material inputs provided are much higher than the national programmes can afford, carried out in limited areas for short periods and sustainability never demonstrated. Community participation in vector borne disease control has considerable potential specially in source reduction, reduction in man vector contact or accepting antiparasitic or antivector measures. True sustainable participation is possible only when the present trend of top-down planning is reversed to bottom-up planning; decision making power is handed over to the community; the people involved in conceiving, planning, implementation and evaluation of all developmental programmes and if the programmes are responsive to local needs and priorities.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Community Participation*
  • Humans
  • Insect Control / methods*
  • Insect Vectors*