Vision, Mission, Core Objectives and Values


To be a center of excellence in health science research in Ethiopia


To advance research undertaking, health science education and generating evidence for improving planning and the delivery of health service.

Core objectives

The Demographic Surveillance and Health Research Center focus is to:
1.generate up-to-date community based data including vital events;
2.conduct studies in addressing national health issue ;
3.assess trends of demographic, health and environmental changes;
4.evaluate health intervention activities;
5.enhance research culture in the learning and teaching process;
6.render support on research method and analysis for students and staff;
7.disseminate research findings to different users;
8.advocate utilization of research findings in improving health and other service delivery.

Engagement: research undertaking within the community in existence
Excellence: best and innovative way of looking at things
Collaboration: working together with other stakeholders
Banding: team approach to research undertaking
Respect: upholding public norms, culture, ethics and moral issues

Focus areas of research:

KDS-HRC undertakes researches in major health and health related public health problems. Some of the focus areas of research’s areas are:
• Child health
• Maternal health
• Demographic changes
• Reproductive health
• HIV/AIDS and other STIs
• Malaria and other acute infectious diseases
• Tuberculosis and other chronic infectious diseases
• Gender related issues
• Nutrition
• Water and sanitation
• Vector borne diseases
• Pollution
• Occupational health
• Mental health
• Chronic non-infectious diseases (hypertension, diabetes and etc…)
• Other communicable diseases
• Health service utilization

Services KDS-HRC Provides:

• Availing any type of sample frame for community based study
• Consultation
• Supporting on data management and data analysis
• Sharing software
• Providing list of individuals within the study site on request for specific purpose
• Trainings on data analysis, research methodology, qualitative study, GIS, the use of internet
• Conducting health and demographic studies
• Providing technical support on research for departments, regional health office and health institutions

Kersa District


Kersa is one of the 180 districts in the Oromia Region. It is part of east Hararghe. It is bordered on the south by Bedeno district, on the west by Meta district, on the north by Dire Dawa administrative council, on the northeast by Haramaya woreda, and on the southeast by Kurfa Chele district. The woreda capital is Kersa, which is 44 km from Harar west wards.


The district ranges from 1400 to 3200 meters above sea level. According to a survey of the land in Kersa 28.5% is arable or cultivable, 2.3% pasture, 6.2% forest, and the remaining 56.3% is considered built-up degraded or otherwise unusable. Chat, fruits and vegetables are important cash crops. Coffee is also an important cash crop, covering 5,000 hectares.

In the woreda, there are 35 rural Kebeles and 3 small towns. According to the information obtained from the woreda administration, out of the 38 Kebeles, 2 are lowland, 22 are temperate, 7 are a mix of lowland and temperate and the remaining 7 are highland, containing 2.8 %, 60.2, %, 17 % and 20 % of the district population, respectively. All the Kebeles have road access.


According to the 2007 census, the district has a total population of 172,626; out of which, 6.87 are urban dwellers. With an estimated area of 463.75 square kilometers, Kersa has an estimated population density of 372.24 people per square kilometer. The district has six health centers, 28 health posts and eight private pharmacies. The health service coverage of the woreda is 80 %.

The Need for Demographic and Health Surveillance: 

 Demographic and Health Surveillance is the continuous tracking of demographic and health data from a particular place for a continuous period of time. Such a program gives valid and reliable health information to health planners and facilitates evidence-based action unlike the traditional health system oriented generation of data.

 Traditional sources of health information collected from health facilities such as health centers and hospitals often serve as the basis for health-services planning and allocation of resources in Ethiopia. Yet, healthfacility-based data often provide fragmentary and biased information. Not all population groups have geographic or socio-economic access to health facilities. Those who do have such access are usually selfselected and are often those who visit health-care facilities when they suffer from a serious illness.

Great majorities of poor people have less access to health-care facilities than those who are better off, and they often treat themselves or use traditional health care remedies. Women may suffer from gender disparities as well, with time and cultural constraints on the use of health-care facilities, particularly in rural settings. Services for children are also severely constrained. Thus, health-facility-based data are not representative of the health problems of all rural and urban communities and do not therefore reflect the health status of the population.

 This void of valid health information for a large segment of the Ethiopia’s population makes it difficult for policymakers to depend on valid information on the health situation of these people. The need to establish a reliable information base to support health development has never been given due attention.

 Ideally, reliable health information should be community based, inclusive of all groups, and collected prospectively and continuously. Such an ideal is best met through demographic and health surveillance systems collecting demographic, environment and health data on selected population samples. Such a continuous generation of data is indispensable in providing the necessary health services and advancing health science research and promoting quality education. Moreover, it plays a significant role in health planning strengthening staff research capacity and institutional development.

What we do in the field?  

At the KDS-HRC field site, we do a continuous tracking of vital events and health information. Demographic events that changes population characteristics such as births, deaths, immigration and outmigration are of particular interest.

While deaths and out-migration reduces population size, immigration and birth increases population size, this dynamism is called open cohort.

Other events like marital status change, immunization, morbidity and birth outcomes are also under follow-up. For deceased we fill verbal autopsy to identify the cause of death.



History of KDS-HRC project

click here to see history of  KDS-HRC project