AMU’s HDSS has rich inventory of vital demographic information

AMU’s Health & Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) situated at College of Medicine and Health Sciences is gathering data since early 2009 from nine designated kebeles in (Gamo Gofa Zone) Arba Minch Zuria District. It’s a treasure trove of vital demographic information for slew of clientele and researchers that in fact offers a roadmap and scientific insight into strategically key and socio-economic issues governing life. Click here to see the pictures

In an informal chat, both current and erstwhile Coordinators, Gistane Ayele and Befikadu Tariku of HDSS, said, at the behest of Ethiopian Public Health Association (EPHA) that wanted to have national coverage of demographic, health data and public health field laboratory. HDSS at Arba Minch since 2009 mandated with the task in Southern Ethiopia; and Addis Ababa, Gonder, Jimma, Haramaya, and Mekelle universities had undertaken the task in Central (Butajira), Northwest (Dabat), Southwest (Gilgel Gibe), East (Kersa) and Northern (Kilite Awlaelo) Ethiopia.

Arba Minch in 2009 has commenced baseline survey followed by census at nine kebeles i.e. Chano-Chalba, Kola-Shara, Shelle-Mella, Zeyse-Dembella, Ganta-Meycha, Zigiti-Meycha, Gaste, Laka and Kola-Shelle. At the outset, AMU itself funded this potential enterprise followed by EPHA that routed the fund from US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mr Befikadu Tariku said.

HDSS uses indicators and variables such as house characteristics, birth, death (maternal & perinatal), in, out, intra-migration, pregnancy observation, pregnancy outcomes, marital, vaccination status, use of bed-net and precisely WHO verbal autopsy to collect data, said, Coordinator, Gistane Ayele.

It’s learnt that on any given time, 22 data collectors and 5 supervisors are busy collecting data in nine kebeles and analyzed data is shared with governmental agencies and other potential stakeholders on demand. It’s very tedious and complicated task that needs substantial monetary resources and in the span of six months it often incurs ETB 500,000 and work continues, Mr Befikadu adds.

On key findings, they said, while analyzing demographic components like migration have observed the peculiar trends amongst adolescent (15-24), who would move to lowlands in search of a job; likewise in case of childbirth, proportion of institutional delivery increased from nearly 10% in 2010 to 40% in 2016.

Gistane further adds HDSS is using questionnaires and surveillance method; it includes verified indicators and in future, some kebeles from Arba Minch town might be included to have an urban representation. The Unit had been using paper-based data collection and as of now it has been done via smartphone Apps like Open Data Kit (ODK) and OpenHDS. At the moment things are going well, but the issue of low emolument to data collector needs to be addressed; I hope, in future, their emolument might be doubled.

On communication channels, she said, HDSS uses reports and some events through which information with common stakeholders is shared; she also informed HDSS is one of the six members of Ethiopian Universities Research Centers Network and In-depth Network, Ghana.

The available analyzed statistics have revealed that in 2009, these nine districts’ total population was 63,093 including 31,176 females and 31,917 males and in September 2018, the unit has registered marginally bigger population of 78,912 with an increment of 25.07%.

It indicates an average annual rise in population during successive year around 2.33%, between 2009 to 2014-15. In 2009, female population was 31,176 followed by 31,917 male that put sex ratio at 1:1.024. The report states in 2010, 13,088 females of reproductive age were surveyed, of which during 2010-15, 11,122 gave birth to 5,639 (50.7%) male and 5,483 (49.3%) female children.

The study claims to have found fertility rate among the age group of 25-29 was (209.3/1,000) in 2015 followed by age group of 30-34 (203.6/1,000). The age group of 45-49 had the lowest rate (36.9/1000) and among adolescent it was (15-19) 64/1,000 birth. Six-year data shows on an average fertility rate with regard to girl child was 53.6%. The age specific fertility rate had slight decline from 2012-13 and it further picked up a bit during 2014-15.

The mortality rate among infant and septuagenarian (69-onwards) from 2010 to 2015 was found to be the highest. For infant, it was 41.89, 28.41, 24.25, 10.3 and 39.67 per 1,000; among old it was 35.0 in 2010 to 52.85 per 1,000 in 2015. The frequency of demise among male was marginally more compared to female. The mortality rate declines among the age group of 5 to 24, that later picks up at age group of 40-44 to 75+, the report states.

Three diseases - Intestinal infection, tuberculosis and malaria are stated to be the leading cause of death as they accounts for 10.43%, 9.18% and 7.10% deaths in study areas. Ailments such as acute lower respiratory infection, severe malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and chronic liver disorder continue to be the matter of grave concern.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)