Volume 16 - Article 8 | Pages 219-248

Evaluation of a village-informant driven demographic surveillance system in Karonga, Northern Malawi

By Andreas Jahn, Keith Branson, Amelia Crampin, Paul EM Fine, Judith R. Glynn, Nuala McGrath, Johnbosco Mwafilaso, Elenaus Mwaiyeghele, Venance Mwinuka, Basia Zaba

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Date received:15 Dec 2005
Date published:23 Mar 2007
Word count:6179
Keywords:demographic surveillance system, evaluation, INDEPTH network, Karonga, Malawi, methods, migration, village informant, vital registration


This paper describes and evaluates the first demographic surveillance system (DSS) in Malawi, covering a rural population of 30,000. Unlike others, the Karonga DSS relies on trained village informants using formatted registers for the primary notification of vital events and migrations.
Seven project enumerators subsequently collect detailed data on events notified by the village informants, using stringent identification procedures for households and individuals. Internal movements are traced systematically to augment event registration and data quality. Continuous evaluation of data collection is built into the methods. A re-census conducted after 2 years indicated that the routine system had registered 97% of 1,588 births, 99% of 521 deaths and 92% of 13,168 movements.

Author's Affiliation

Andreas Jahn - Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi [Email]
Keith Branson - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]
Amelia Crampin - Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi [Email]
Paul EM Fine - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]
Judith R. Glynn - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]
Nuala McGrath - University of Southampton, United Kingdom [Email]
Johnbosco Mwafilaso - Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi [Email]
Elenaus Mwaiyeghele - Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi [Email]
Venance Mwinuka - Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi [Email]
Basia Zaba - London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom [Email]

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