By Mwaura Samora, Via The Standard Kenya is still grappling with the affliction of ignorance, disease and poverty 50-plus years after independence. Those living 100 metres below the poverty line in...
Our establishment of a Statistics and Surveys Unit was compelled by the need to establish robust data systems for the Center’s work, including the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS); and offer technical assistance to external partners in data collection, processing and analysis, including impact evaluation.
We are now positioned as a source of high quality data with expertise in data collection, documentation and analysis. The Unit is leading efforts to enhance data discoverability and promote responsible data sharing, and coordinates our participation in the iSHARE data-sharing portal initiative led by the INDEPTH Network. Our own urban health statistics platform provides one-stop access to key indicators about urban populations in Africa.
The Unit is contributing to the expansion of the Center’s regional footprint. Its work as part of the Data for African Development expert working group that explored the root causes of slow data progress in Africa, involved
strong regional and global partnerships and resulted in specific, actionable recommendations for strengthening national data systems in Africa. More needs to be done to implement these recommendations, specifically with
regard to strengthening national and sub-national data systems to support more effective evidence-informed decision-making.
Our quest for data discoverability continues with an enhanced data visualization platform as well as assignment of digital object identifiers to our publicly shared research products.
Data and measurement will be an institutional signature issue and the Unit, with an expanded mandate to promote the field of measurement, will focus on three key areas:
The Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) is a pioneer urban HDSS in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that has been operational since 2002. It was established in two slum communities in Nairobi (Korogocho and Viwandani) following APHRC’s 2000 Nairobi Cross-sectional Slums Survey [link to http://aphrc.org/post/publications/urban-health-in-kenya-key-findings-the-2000-nairobi-cross-sectional-slum-survey-2] (NCSS). The study showed that slum residents have the worst health and socioeconomic outcomes of any group in Kenya, including rural residents, with limited access to water and sanitation as well as education and employment. Further, it was revealed that there was a marked absence of the public sector and law enforcement agencies as well no legal land entitlements. Not only were they more likely to have poorer health outcomes, but they were also more likely to be exposed to violence and social unrest.
The NUHDSS provides a platform to investigate the long-term consequences of urban slum residence on health and socioeconomic outcomes. It also serves as a research tool for monitoring impact of interventions by the government and other development agencies, for example, the ongoing impact evaluation of HIV/AIDS initiatives.
The platform routinely collects data on demographic events (births, deaths, and migrations), health outcomes (morbidity, cause of death through verbal autopsy, child vaccination, and nutrition) and socio-economic outcomes (marriage, education, livelihood, and housing characteristics). Additionally, the NUHDSS also serves as a platform for other specialized studies focusing on urbanization, population, education, family planning, reproductive and general health conditions of the urban poor.
The NUHDSS data are freely available for public use upon request (http://aphrc.org/catalog/microdata/index.php/catalog). The key indicators and findings from the demographic data and other studies nested in the NUHDSS are disseminated to residents of the two slums, research community, and national and international stakeholders.