As a research platform, SEACO is established to use the methodological approach of a demographic and health surveillance system to explore a number of research topics spanning multiple disciplines.

Demographic and Health Surveillance Sites (DHSS) are research platforms for the collection of longitudinal data on a fully enumerated population within a circumscribed geographical location.

SEACO’s staff at the field.

Unlike cohort studies, DHSS track whole populations, over time, making it possible to locate the    individual within the context of the household, and of the broader community. Included in the core data are the cultural, social, economic, physical, and geographical relationships between individuals, households and the broader community.  At the barest minimum, accurate information on the occurrence of life events such as births, deaths, morbidity, marriage, and migration (in and out), are regularly collected in update rounds that occur at least semi-annually. In addition to basic demographic information, modules covering health and nutritional status, health service utilisation, education, and socio-economics form an important part of update cycle.

Embedded or nested studies use the comprehensive sampling frame to explore issues for specific populations in greater detail. We actively encourage researchers interested in collaborating with us to contact Prof Pascale Allotey. We have an open process of review through our Scientific Advisory Group and Community Consultative Committee that facilitates research across the SEACO platform and protects the interests of the community in Segamat.

Current Research Themes

SEACO’s staff interview the respondent.

SEACO’s staff explaining the community brief to respondent.

Methodological Innovation: SEACO has been established as a generic research platform and as such, provides the opportunity to explore processes,  procedures and best practices of setting up community based cohort studies, community engagement, ethical implications of DHSS, IT and database development, interdisciplinary research and so on.

Chronic diseases: Working in rural Malaysia provides an ideal setting to explore the rising burden of non communicable diseases, co-morbidities with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue and malaria and how these interact with the social determinants of health, particularly gender and ethnicity.

Self Management of Health: describes the use of pharmaceutical and other types of preparations in the maintenance or promotion of health and for the home management of a range of conditions. We are interested in the range of ‘medications’ that are used, the sources of the information, the cultural and historical origins of the knowledge and knowledge transfer, the reasons for the choices and the pharmacological effects. This area of research is in collaboration with Professor Anita Hardon at the University of Amsterdam.

Environment, health and disease: explores the long term effects of humans on their environment and environmental factors that affect health. The potential here for research is extensive. However current activity includes the collection of mosquito vectors to develop the arbovirus profile in the district. The lead researcher is A/Prof Sharifah Syed Hassan who is the lead of the Infectious Disease and Immunity Research Group at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University.

Health Culture and Society: explores the social, political, cultural and economic context of health and wellbeing. Gender dynamics, religion and ethnicity play a central role. Critical to these issues and policy making is the use of public, private and traditional health services and how utilisation fits into broader health systems and health sector reform.

These are explored under the disciplines of social epidemiology and medical anthropology led by Prof Daniel D Reidpath and Prof Pascale Allotey. Keen collaborators include Prof Ichiro Kawachi from the Harvard School of Public Health and Datin Paduka Prof Dr Jamilah Ariffin, an Adjunct Professor at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University, Clinical School Johor Bahru.

Secondary data analysis:  The strength of the SEACO Platform is in the wealth of data collected across multiple domains and the expansion of the data pool over time. All data collected through the platform will contribute to the growth of the platform. Most importantly, unless there are privacy considerations, data will be made accessible for mining and secondary analysis. Processes for accessing  data will be developed and approved through the SAG.

Please contact the SEACO Executive if you have a real interest in working with SEACO.

SEACO’s staff patched the Census sticker and being monitored by respondent.