Health statistics and health information systems


WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE)

Additional SAGE Data and Methods


A short version of the SAGE questionnaire, focusing on health and well-being, has been implemented during routine surveillance rounds in eight demographic surveillance sites from the International Network for the continuous Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health in developing countries (INDEPTH): South Africa (Agincourt), Viet Nam (Filabavi), Tanzania (Ifakara), Bangladesh (Matlab), Kenya (Nairobi), Ghana (Navrongo), Indonesia (Purworejo), and India (Vadu). The full SAGE instrument was also implemented in the Agincourt, Navrongo and Vadu fieldsites in smaller random samples. Our goals are to develop common measurement strategies where possible and develop methods to link routine surveillance data and longitudinal survey data. Links to the summary Qs are available below. Data are available at no cost to researchers through INDEPTH and WHO on request and requires completion of a Users Agreement available on the previous webpage.

A first set of papers based on Wave 1 data are available below. A writing and dissemination workshop was held at Harvard University in April 2010, with a set of papers planned on self-reported health and mortality data - using the expanded Wave 1 data set. A copy of SAGE-INDEPTH Wave 1 publications in Global Health Action's 2010, Volume 3, Supplement 2, "Growing Older in Africa & Asia: INDEPTH WHO-SAGE special reports", is available through the link below (as .pdf) or through the GHA website .

Access copies of the SAGE-INDEPTH survey instruments (with questionnaire rotations A, B, C and D) by clicking on the links below.

Country (DSS Fieldsite) World Bank economic category Sample Size
South Africa (Agincourt) 2 4085
Indonesia (Purworejo) 3 12395
Bangladesh (Matlab) 4 4037
Ghana (Navrongo) 4 4584
India (Vadu) 4 5430
Kenya (Nairobi) 4 2072
Tanzania (Ifakara) 4 5131
Viet Nam (Filabavi) 4 8535
  • DDI_SAGE-INDEPTH_short_v1
    pdf, 199kb

    Data documentation, using DDI standards, for SAGE-INDEPTH Wave 1 version 1.0 is available by clicking on the link above. Prepared by Dr Nawi Ng.
  • IRT_Intro_JoanWu
    pdf, 1.30Mb

    Qiong Joan Wu presented, "An introduction to Item Response Theory and its applications to health assessments", at an INDEPTH-SAGE Workshop, 20 April 2010, hosted by Dr Lisa Berkman and the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. This is one resource for those looking for practical information about IRT.


SAGE-INDEPTH Wave 2 is planned for 2011, including follow-up of Wave 1 respondents, in the eight INDEPTH HDSS fieldsites that implemented Wave 1. Implementation is currently being negotiated between WHO, INDEPTH and NIA BSR.


A version of the health state descriptions module and vignettes were added to the Study on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data collection instrument in 2004 in eight countries. This module was again included in the first round of follow-up in 2007 in those same eight countries, plus in an additional three countries. Links to the vignette Qs are available from the SHARE/COMPARE website. Data from Wave 1 are available at no cost to researchers through SHARE and WHO on request . Wave 2 data are available through the SHARE website.

Country Full sample size SAGE sample size N, 50plus % 50plus % 60plus % 80plus
Belgium - French .. 260 247 95 61.5 5.4
Belgium - Flemish .. 321 302 94.1 52 7.2
France 1842 913 881 96.5 59.8 10.1
Germany 3020 513 496 96.7 63.9 7.2
Greece 2142 730 669 91.6 50.5 8.5
Italy 2559 446 441 98.9 64.6 7.4
The Netherlands 3000 551 533 96.7 57.7 6.7
Spain 2419 480 452 94.2 64.6 8.8
Sweden 3067 444 433 97.5 65.8 7.9
18,049 4658 4454 95.6 59.6 8.1

More SAGE in Europe - COURAGE

The WHO was part of a consortium, that secured support as part of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to implement SAGE-like health, disability, well-being and health system utilization studies in a number of European countries. (< href="">COURAGE in Europe), will be implemented in Finland, Poland and Spain in 2010, with a goal of obtaining valid, reliable and comparable measures of population ageing and adult health in Europe.


The Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and Yemen are implementing the WHS+ in 2007-09. The survey instrument is a combination of the SAGE and WHS questions, modules and methods. WHO is providing technical and some financial support, with the GCC countries providing the majority of the financial support. Survey tools and data will be available for these countries through WHO HQ and WHO EMRO on request.


  • Small area analyses – Given that sample sizes will be limited by costs, in order to develop robust estimates for parameters of interest, we will borrow from techniques developed for small area analysis for sub-population estimates by sociodemographic characteristics and geographic distribution (including sub-national estimates).
  • Mortality rate estimation techniques and causes of death in this population need to be improved especially in the developing world. Given that samples sizes in surveys will be insufficient to provide robust estimates, linkages with other vital registration methods or sample registration surveys will be sought.
  • Attrition in cohort studies with longitudinal follow-up will always be a concern. We will ensure that SAGE survey design and analytic techniques are informed by the current state of the art and offer an opportunity to develop new methods.
  • Distribution of health and health related outcomes in this population, especially across sociodemographic gradients in developing countries, offers an opportunity to assess equity issues with novel techniques.
  • Improvements in the measurement of self-related health states and morbidity will be made using measured performance tests and biomarker data. Techniques to adjust for biases in self-report will be developed.