In 1993, the Navrongo Health Research Centre launched a new demographic research system for monitoring the impact of health service interventions in a rural district of northern Ghana. The Navrongo Demographic Surveillance System uses automated software generation procedures that greatly simplify the preparation of complex database management systems. This paper reviews the Navrongo model for data collection, as well as features of the Navrongo system that have led to its replication in other health research projects requiring individual-level longitudinal demographic data. Demographic research results for the first 2 years of system operation are indicative of a pretransitional rural society with high fertility, exceedingly high mortality risks, and pronounced seasonal out-migration.
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