Reporting results back in Health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS): an ethical requirement and a strategy for improving health behaviours

  • Nathalie Mondain University of Ottawa
  • Valérie Delaunay IRD/Aix-Marseille Université
  • Valérie Ouédraogo Grant MacEwan University
Keywords: Demographic and health surveillance systems – Ethics – Report results back – behavioral change - Participatory approach


This paper addresses the issue of reporting results back in Health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS). In these particular research platforms, populations are constantly solicited through the longitudinal demographic follow-up and additional surveys. Therefore, reporting results back directly to participants should be considered as a strong ethical requirement. However, like in most health oriented research, results are mostly disseminated among decision makers and local authorities. Therefore, HDSS residents increasingly question the objectives of these studies. Using a participatory approach, 3 days were organized in 2015 to report back findings based on 50 years of research on population, health and environment in the Niakhar HDSS in Senegal. Drawing from the evaluation conducted among a sample of participants to the event, we show that beyond the ethical dimension, such activities may also contribute to change populations’ attitudes to research practices and further influence individuals’ health behaviors at the local level. 


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Author Biographies

Nathalie Mondain, University of Ottawa
School of sociological and anthropological studiesSchool of sociological and anthropological studies15
Valérie Delaunay, IRD/Aix-Marseille Université
Institut de recherche pour le de developpment
Valérie Ouédraogo, Grant MacEwan University
School of Social Work