Research at DRC

Well-established population-based longitudinal surveillance system in Ethiopia is very limited. Taking this fact into account, the University of Gondar established the Dabat health and demographic surveillance system in the Dabat district in 1996. Currently, the research center is generating longitudinal information on vital events such as pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, death, in and out migrations, and marital status changes.

Dabat Research Center (DRC) aims to develop and evaluate a system for continuous registration of health and health-related, and socioeconomic indicators through population-level longitudinal research. Specifically, the center aims to:

  • – Generate longitudinal data on vital events (birth, death, migration, marital status changes, etc.)
  • – Identify population-level causes of death using the verbal autopsy method
  • – Conduct molecular to population-level research on priority problems of the society
  • – Provide relevant and timely information for evidence-based decision-making at household and individual levels
  • – Build and strengthen the research and training capacity of staff at the University of Gondar and beyond
  • – Develop local capacity in the prevention and control of disease
  • – Increase south-to-south and south-to-north collaboration in research, technology transfer, and resource exchanges

So far, a baseline census and two re-censuses have been conducted at the Dabat HDSS site already. In addition, a baseline census for the entire population was conducted for Gondar and Gorgora HDSS sites in January 2022.

After the baseline census where all households and members of the HDSS sites are registered, each household will be visited and updated every six months to track events (death, birth, migration, and marital status changes) and update the population.  Other events such as education status, occupation status, immunization, family income, and employment will be captured annually.

Uniqueness of DRC

  • – Information at the individual level over time
  • – Information at the household level over time
  • – Timely availability of data
  • – Possible determination of the cause of death at the population level

Expected Output from DRC

The outcome from the HDSS sites will be the generation of valid, reliable, and real-time data on:

  • – Population dynamics (birth, death, migration, and marital status changes)
  • – Household food security indicators
  • – Chronic disease risk factors
  • – Infectious disease risk factors
  • – Environmental factors and monitoring (metrology, air quality, water quality, soil quality, and land cover and use)
  • – Social and behavioral determinants of health
  • – Diseases distribution (by place, time, person)
  • – Health service coverage and utilization
  • – Mortality and its cause (underline, immediate, and final cause of death)

Expected Outcome from DRC

The following are the possible outcome of the newly established HDSS sites:

  • – A research platform for the University staff, students, and national and international researchers will be created
  • – Increased national and international research collaboration
  • – Improved University staff and students’ capacity in basic and applied research
  • – Increase the longitudinal data management and analysis skills of University staff and students
  • – Generate evidence for local, regional, national, and international policymakers
  • – Evaluation of interventional and implementation research will be undertaken


The Dabat, Gondar, and Gorgora HDSS sites will have the following impacts:

  • – Build a culture and value of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom
  • – Build a center of excellence in research at the University of Gondar
  • – Improve the socioeconomic, development, health status, and quality of life of the society

Target Beneficiaries

The target beneficiaries will be:

  • – Community (job opportunity and study outcome)
  • – University students (Ph.D. and Master’s)
  • – University staff
  • – Local administrators
  • – District, zonal and regional health and other governmental bureaus
  • – Ministry of Health and other ministries
  • – National and international partners
  • – Non-governmental organizations