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The South African government plans to expand existing longitudinal demographic studies to track the health, income and educational attainment of both urban and rural residents, creating the largest project of its kind in Africa. The initiative may include as many as 500,000 people.
Data from the surveillance will help assess efforts at curbing major diseases, like HIV and Ebola, as well as lifestyle-related threats, like cancer and diabetes.
Long-term funding for demographic studies is notoriously fickle. But researchers hope South Africa’s new model will attract sustained government support and international attention.

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