JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY 22, 3, 276 - 285 (2012).
Health and Demographic Surveillance System in the Western and Coastal Areas of Kenya: An Infrastructure for Epidemiologic Studies in Africa


Kaneko S, K'Opiyo J, Kiche I, Wanyua S, Goto K, Tanaka J, Changoma M, Ndemwa M, Komazawa O, Karama M, Moji K, Shimada M


Original Research


ackground: The Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) is a longitudinal data collection process that systematically and continuously monitors population dynamics for a specified population in a geographically defined area that lacks an effective system for registering demographic information and vital events. Methods: HDSS programs have been run in 2 regions in Kenya: in Mbita district in Nyanza province and Kwale district in Coast Province. The 2 areas have different disease burdens and cultures. Vital events were obtained by using personal digital assistants and global positioning system devices. Additional health-related surveys have been conducted bimonthly using various PDA-assisted survey software. Results: The Mbita HDSS covers 55 929 individuals, and the Kwale HDSS covers 42 585 individuals. In the Mbita HDSS, the life expectancy was 61.0 years for females and 57.5 years for males. Under-5 mortality was 91.5 per 1000 live births, and infant mortality was 47.0 per 1000 live births. The total fertility rate was 3.7 per woman. Data from the Kwale HDSS were not available because it has been running for less than I year at the time of this report. Conclusions: Our HDSS programs are based on a computer-assisted survey system that provides a rapid and flexible data collection platform in areas that lack an effective basic resident registration system. Although the HDSS areas are not representative of the entire country, they provide a base for several epidemiologic and social study programs, and for practical community support programs that seek to improve the health of the people in these areas.