A cohort study on acute respiratory infections, involving 270 children observed by pediatricians in their homes every 10 days over a period of 32 months, gave the opportunity to experience logistic and methodological problems seldom described in the literature. The purpose of this article is to alert researchers as to the difficulties faced when performing community-based studies in developing countries. Although a carefully planned project was undertaken, problem areas included the establishment of the target population, population dynamics, field related problems, laboratory aspects and data management. It is hoped that other investigators may benefit from the extensive experience gained from our program in foreseeing and coping with the difficulties involved.
Respiratory tract infection; Cohort studies; Epidemiologic factors