Global Health Data Exchange - Discover the World's Health Data

Searching the GHDx

The GHDx search enables you to locate data by the organizations involved, geography, time period, and content. The content searching is based on the summaries that we write as well as the keywords that we assign to the dataset. Use the Keywords page to find out what keywords are available.

The GHDx uses AND as the default search parameter with some relevancy matching.

Search Operators

  1. Use AND to do pure AND matching (yields fewer results).
  2. Use quotation marks around a phrase to find that exact phrase: for example, "vital statistics" only finds the entire phrase.
  3. Use quotation marks around a phrase followed by ~ and then a number to do proximity searches.  It looks for the terms of the phrase within the number of characters.  "Vital statistics"~10 finds vital and statistics within 10 characters -- not the exact phrase.
  4. Use - in front of a word to mean NOT.
  5. Use OR to mean OR.
  6. Use * for wildcard searching. By default the GHDx searches for closely related terms, so annual also finds annually.

Example Searches

  • Cause of death data not a part of the WHO Mortality Database: "causes of death" -WHO
  • Surveys similar to household income and expenditure surveys: ("household expenditures" OR "living conditions") AND survey
  • Primary and secondary data for mortality, not including the DHS: "mortality" OR "household deaths" OR "sibling history" OR "birth history" -DHS

Sorting Your Results

By default, the GHDx sorts results by relevancy.  On the top right, you can change the "Sort by" to Title, which alphabetizes your results and generally groups data by geography, or you can change it to Time period, which sorts the results by the start date of the time period covered. The latter is helpful if you want to see the most recent data first.

Refining Your Search with Search Facets

If your search returns more results than you want, you can refine your search by using the search facets that appear on the right. Click on the facet term to reduce the number of results. The number in parentheses after the term is the number of results you will get.

For example, if you search for floors, which is a synonym for 'housing materials," limit your results to censuses by scrolling down to "Filter by Data Type" and clicking "Census."

Other facets available include geography, series, and keyword.

Exporting Your Search

You can export the results of your search to a CSV file. The export includes all available GHDx information. Using the export can help you go through all the results you get more efficiently than paging through the results.

Synonyms and Related Terms

In the GHDx, we use synonyms and related terms to improve search results. 

Synonyms: Searching for a synonym of a keyword yields the same results as searching for the term itself.  For example, "sibling history" and "sibling survival" are synonyms.

Related terms: When you search for one of our keywords, you may see suggested related searches. These data may be connected to the data you are looking for and may also be helpful.  "Malaria" and "insecticide-treated bednets" are related terms.

If you do not see the results you expect for a particular search, it may be that you are searching for a term that is not yet listed as a synonym of one of our terms.  Please let us know what you searched for, so that we may improve results in the future.

Advanced Search

In the Advanced Search, you can find datasets by:

  • Precise geographic coverage
  • Time period, including ranges
  • Specific keywords
  • Series or system name

Or a combination of the above.  Advanced Search is perfect for addressing specific questions such as:

  • What data cover a specific topic over a specific time-frame?
  • What data are from a specific country?

The difference between regular search and Advanced Search is that advanced search allows you to limit your query to specific content in a specific field instead of, for example, the word "malaria" in any field.