Introduction to INDEPTH


INDEPTH Network is a global leader in health and population research, providing robust answers to some of the most important questions in development. The lack of a reliable information base to support the identification, prevention and treatment of health problems is a major hurdle to addressing the high burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries. INDEPTH— through its global network of 49 health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) sites run by 42 research centres in 19 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific region — is the only organisation in the world capable of developing that information base. It tracks a total population of over 4 million people, providing high quality longitudinal data not only about the lives of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but also about the impact on those lives of development policies and programmes.

INDEPTH is at the heart of this network of HDSS centres, which is recognised for the data it generates, its multi-site collaborations and its potential as a cross-site trials platform. Our vision is to be a trusted source for evidence supporting and evaluating progress towards health and development goals. Our mission is to lead a coordinated approach by the world’s health and demographic surveillance systems to provide timely longitudinal evidence across the range of transitioning settings to understand and improve population health and development policy and practice. It is the only sustainable source of longitudinal data that can provide the knowledge and policy-relevant evidence needed to serve health and development in the Global South.

The Network provides HDSS centres with the capacity to undertake cross-site scientific research and to pool findings, including by developing standardised tools and methodologies for health and population research. The Network also helps to improve the technical strength and scientific value of site-specific studies, by providing support for scientists working in HDSS centres to share methodologies, exchange ideas on best international practices in health, and learn new analytical skills and methodological innovations.