The Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) was the first urban-based longitudinal health and demographic surveillance platform in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The NUHDSS was established in 2002 to provide a platform to investigate the long-term social, economic and health consequences of urban residence, and to serve as a primary research tool for intervention and impact evaluation studies focusing on the needs of the urban poor in SSA. Since its inception, the NUHDSS has successfully followed every year a population of about 65 000 individuals in 24 000 households in two slum communities—Korogocho and Viwandani—in Nairobi, Kenya. Data collected include key demographic and health information (births, deaths including verbal autopsy, in- and out-migration, immunization) and other information that characterizes living conditions in the slums (livelihood opportunities, household amenities and possessions, type of housing etc.). In addition to the routine data, it has provided a robust platform for nesting several studies examining the challenges of rapid urbanization in SSA and associated health and poverty dynamics. NUHDSS data are shared through internal and external collaborations, in accordance with the Centre’s guidelines for publications, data sharing.