INDEPTH Network launches INDEPTH Stats

The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Population and Their Health (INDEPTH Network) has launched the first online INDEPTH Data Repository and INDEPTH Stats. The two data archives will help build and strengthen capacity for research data management and further improve access to health and science research in low and middle countries. The INDEPTH Stats will provide researchers, government officials and policymakers with information that can guide their decision-making with details including crude birth and death rates, age-specific fertility and death rates, infant, child and under five mortality rates as well as numerous other health and demographic indicators. Launching the online data repository in Accra, Professor Osman Sankoh, Executive Director of INDEPTH Network, said idea was to share data to enhance research data management capacity and practice. He said the data generated would also improve data collection methods and advance analytical techniques and help train new scientists. “The INDEPTH Data Repository and INDEPTH Stats are long term projects of the INDEPTH Network and the datasets available in the repository and the website will continue to expand in conjunction with the INDEPTH Network’s effort to build its research data management capacity”, he said. The online data repository (www.indepth-ishare.org) specialises in longitudinal individual-level exposure and cause-specific mortality data from health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSSs) located in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa, Asia and Oceania. The INDEPTH repository is a long-term project, of which the datasets will continue to expand alongside the research data management capacity. INDEPTH Stats would be freely accessible and would provide researchers and policymakers with health and demographic information that can guide their decision-making. It would include crude birth and death rates, age-specific fertility and death rates, infant, child, and under five mortality rates, as well as other health and demographic indicators whilst additional indicators, such as death rates by cause of death, would be added in the near future. Prof Osman said the datasets contained anonymised, quality assured data in a predefined event history format for about 800 000 individuals representing more than 3·7 million person-years of observation, adding “the dataset format corresponds to the standard micro-dataset format published by INDEPTH and contains a data record for each observed individual demographic event”. He explained that every dataset in the repository was documented using an internationally accepted metadata standard, enabling data users to quickly identify and download the data they require. “We wish to assure the general public that the INDEPTH Data Repository is a long-term project and the datasets will continue to expand alongside with research data management capacity at our member centres and data would be updated every July 1st”, he added. Mr Martin Bangha, Capacity Strengthening and Training Manager of INDEPTH, took participants through how to access the site to retrieve data needed.