The INDEPTH network comprises 49 Health and Demographic Surveillance System centres/sites (HDSSs) in 19 countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania which provide a platform for longitudinal, policy-oriented studies of health and mortality. Eight of these centres (Agincourt, South Africa; Ifakara, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya and Navrongo, Ghana in sub-Saharan Africa and Filabavi, Vietnam; Matlab, Bangladesh; Purworejo, Indonesia and Vadu, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in Asia; Papua New Guinea in Oceania) form the Adult Health and Ageing grouping. This group aims to establish and examine cohorts of older adults (50+ years) at differing stages of the epi-demographic transition to better understand social, economic and biological predictors of mortality, trajectories of disease and risk, changes in physical and cognitive function and the relationships between aging and social and economic wellbeing and productivity.

Data Collection

Completed and planned multi-site studies include:

  1. A short version of the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (WHO-SAGE), completed in 2006/7 in all eight centres
  2. The full WHO-SAGE, completed in 2006/7 in Agincourt, South Africa; Navrongo, Ghana and Vadu, India, to provide a comparison with national-level data
  3. A second wave of WHO-SAGE, using an extended version of the short WHO-SAGE (with selected physical and biochemical measures), planned for the original eight centres in 2013/14
  4. Africa Wits INDEPTH partnership for the GENomic study of body composition and cardiometabolic disease risk (AWI-Gen) – an NIH-funded Collaborative Centre funded under the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3A) umbrella. The project, currently underway, collects information on the genetic basis of obesity from 10,500 participants and includes sites in Agincourt and Dikgale, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Navrongo, Ghana and Nanoro, Burkina Faso (adults aged 40-60 years)
  5. Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal studies in INDEPTH communities (HAALSI) – a proposed study to establish more extensive longitudinal surveys of health, aging, and wellbeing which will allow estimation of the prevalence and incidence of major chronic conditions, and their social and economic consequences, in 3 population-based health and demographic surveillance sites, namely Agincourt, South Africa, Ifakara, Tanzania and Navrongo, Ghana.
  6. Comprehensive Health and Epidemiological Surveillance System (CHESS) – The future direction of INDEPTH will be to implement CHESS, which can be described as high-quality data for disease-specific and pathogen-specific morbidity, together with data for overall and cause-specific mortality. The HDSS will be equipped with innovative technology needed for the morbidity and aetiological surveillance at both household and health facility levels.


The sample sizes and biomarkers collected/proposed for each study are shown in the table below.