Aim To report the use of a community participatory approach (PA) in a project investigating tuberculosis (TB) in UK Somali migrants.
Background It is crucial to address health inequalities and persistent health problems, particularly in groups who are often excluded or seem hard to reach. TB is an illness stigmatised in the Somali population, making it a difficult topic for research. In this study, a community PA was used to investigate TB and members of the Somali community were recruited as co-researchers.
Data sources Four community researchers (CRs), eight focus groups (n=48), interviews with members of the community (n=24), people with TB and ex-TB patients (n=14), and healthcare practitioners (n=18).
Review methods This is an informative paper.
Discussion The paper describes the approach used in the recruitment of community researchers and how engaging early with community leaders using oral communication made it possible to research TB in the Somali community.
Conclusion The PA led to capacity building, trust and a longer sustainable partnership with members of the Somali community. The success of the approach in the study suggests that there are valuable lessons for those researching similar topics with minority groups.
Implications for practice/research Involving people in health research topics with a stigma is possible. This paper highlights how this could be achieved using a community PA and the recruitment of community members as co-researchers. However, the PA is time-consuming and will depend on the skills of academic researchers in knowing and engaging with the community.