Demographic Surveillance System

Awach DSS

Project Driver from Field ActivitiesWhy implementing a Demographic Surveillance System (DSS)

Routine registration of demographic events is essential for guiding policy formulation, resource allocation and service delivery in all countries. Demographic surveillance systems (DSS) are one of the cornerstones of public health research in countries where lack of comprehensive and reliable data systems are non-existing. It aims to register and monitor demographic and health event as births, deaths, causes of deaths, and migration in a geographically defined population over time.

The Awach DSS

The Awach DSS was established during the period January– March 2010 as a component of the DANIDA funded Enhancement of Research Capacity (ENRECA-Gulu University) project titled Changing Human Security: Recovery from Armed Conflict in Northern Uganda.

The Awach DSS is designed to provide a framework for continuous registration and monitoring of vital demographic indicators; and for monitoring changes in human security indicators, including health and food security. Tracing the post-conflict resettlement process in detail is serving a continuing central field for disciplinary and collaborative research.

The setup of the Awach DSS was done with technical support from the Jinja demographic surveillance project and Makerere University in Uganda. Awach sub-county was identified as the geographic site for the DSS with a target population of 13.300 individuals. Specific staff was recruited, including six field assistants identified from the communities of Awach, and trained to support the data collection process. During the months of March to August 2010, baseline data on demographic indicators was collected and processed.

Progress of the Awach DSS

Update rounds are carried out every year with core demographic indicators: migration, pregnancy, birth and death, and migration.

Update rounds and studies implemented:

  • 2010: Baseline
  • 2011: Update round 1, Woman’s questionnaire, Socioeconomic questionnaire, Nutrition study
  • 2012: Update round 2


The Demographic Surveillance Area (DSA) is located in the rural Awach sub-county in Gulu district of northern Uganda, about 370 km north of Kampala and 47 km from Gulu Municipality (Figure 1). It covers an area of about 249.65 km2 and has four administrative parishes: Gwengdiya, Paduny, Paibona and Pukony. The parishes are further divided into 13 villages and 67 sub-villages. Based on the DSS data there are XX residents and XX number of households.



Downloadable reports from the Awach DSS