Located in the Kassena-Nankana districts of northern Ghana, the Navrongo health and demographic surveillance system (NHDSS) was established in 1992 by the Navrongo health research centre (NHRC). The NHRC is one of three research centres of the Ghana health service. The activities and potential of the NHDSS for collaborative research are described. The NHDSS monitors health and demographic dynamics of the two Kassena-Nankana districts of northern Ghana and facilitates evaluation of the morbidity and mortality impact of health and social interventions. The total population currently under surveillance is 152 000 residing in 32 000 households. Events monitored routinely include pregnancies, births, morbidity, deaths, migration, marriages and vaccination coverage. Data updates are done every 4 months by trained fieldworkers. The NHRC also undertakes biomedical and socio-economic studies. Additional features of the NHDSS include the community key informant system where trained volunteers routinely report key events, such as births and deaths as they occur in their locality and the verbal autopsy (VA) system for determining the probable causes of deaths that occur at the community level. Data from the NHDSS are shared with funders and collaborators and partners in the INDEPTH Network. The Director of the NHDSS is the contact person for potential collaboration with the NHDSS and the use of its data.