22 Aug

#DHSgames Final Recap

As the 2016 Olympics come to a close, so do the #DHSgames. Our final medalists are as follows:  Brazil, with seven gold, six silver, and six bronze medals for a total of 19 medals;  Azerbaijan, with one gold, seven silver and 10 bronze medals for a total of 18 medals; and Kazakhstan, with three gold, five silver and nine bronze medals for a total of 17 medals. Kenya is the runner-up with 13 medals, six of which are gold.

Several Olympic (OR) and world records (WR) were set by athletes from DHS countries:

  • OR:  Sukanya Srisurat, Thailand, women’s 58kg in weightlifting
  • OR & WR:  Nijat Rahimov, Kazakhstan, men’s 77kg in weightlifting
  • WR:  Almaz Ayana, Ethiopia, women’s 10,000m in athletics
  • OR & WR:  Wayde van Niekerk, South Africa, men’s 400m in athletics
  • OR:  Thiago Braz da Silva, Brazil, men’s pole vault
  • OR:  Conseslus Kipruto, Kenya, men’s 3000m steeplechase
  • OR:  Vivian Kepkemoi Cheruiyot, Kenya, women’s 5000m in athletics

Thank you to everyone who participated in The DHS Games! We hope you enjoyed our coverage of countries that we have worked with. If you particularly enjoyed our blog content, we encourage you to subscribe to receive weekly to biweekly updates.

You can also check out all the infographics shared throughout The DHS Games on Pinterest, as well as scroll through the #DHSgames feed for a look back at our Twitter coverage.






19 Aug

#DHSgames Week Two – Round Two

It’s been another big week in the #DHSgames.


Before the final weekend, Brazil moves into first place in our games with 15 medals – five gold, five silver, and five bronze. Kazakhstan slipped into second place – of its five medals, three are gold. Azerbaijan makes an entrance into the top three for the first time during these games with 10 medals. The last DHS in Azerbaijan was conducted in 2006. South Africa, with nine medals, is also a contender for the final medal count to be released on Monday after this weekend’s closing events.

Medals for DHS countries this week include Indonesia’s gold in mixed doubles badminton, Jordan‘s in men’s 68 kg taekwondo, and Ukraine‘s gold in the men’s 200m canoe sprint. The men’s welterweight boxing final ended in gold for Kazakhstan and silver for Uzbekistan. India and Tunisia both won bronze in the women’s 58 kg freestyle wrestling. It has been a big week for Brazil, with gold medals in women’s judo, men’s boxing, men’s pole vault, women’s sailing, and men’s beach volleyball.

With all the Track and Field that’s been happening this week, let’s talk about Kenya and Ethiopia in the distance races. In every marathon race since 1996, at least one Kenyan or Ethiopian has medaled (with the exception of one race, in which there was a medalist born in Ethiopia but competing for the US).  For this year’s #DHSgames, let’s do a mini medal count for the women’s distance events:



In addition to the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia, you may notice another repetition in this medal count: Dibaba. The Dibaba sisters, Tirunesh and Genzebe, are part of what is called the fastest family on the planet (Mare Dibaba is unrelated). Tirunesh and Genzebe grew up in a hut without electricity. The 2011 Ethiopia DHS found that 23% of households have electricity—up from 13% in 2000. According to a profile of the sisters, their mother credits much of their success to having grown up on milk from the family’s cows.

We can use DHS data to examine topics such as nutrition in Ethiopia. Indicators can be examined in depth to see how they vary within a country by wealth or among other background characteristics. For example, in Ethiopia, anemia prevalence among children age 6-59 months decreases as household wealth increases.

Children with any anemia

We calculate wealth quintiles through the Wealth Index, which measures a household’s living standards according to assets (such as farm animals) rather than income. Indicators can then be broken down by wealth quintile to better understand patterns within a country.



We’ll be watching to see how Ethiopia and Kenya do in the upcoming men’s marathon. The 2016 Ethiopia DHS is also ongoing, so stay tuned for those results as well. The excitement will continue even after the close of this year’s #DHSgames.

15 Aug

#DHSgames Week Two – Round One

It’s been an exciting week for the #DHSgames, particularly for female athletes of DHS countries. We support women’s empowerment, whether in the form of athletic achievement or as an indicator of development.

First, let’s review this week’s medal count. Kazakhstan is now in first place with ten medals, followed by South Africa  with seven medals, and Uzbekistan with six medals, replacing Thailand and Brazil from last week. Kenya is close behind with five medals – two gold and three silver.

We have witnessed many history-making firsts. Chierika Ukogu of Nigeria is the first African to compete in a rowing event, placing second in her women’s single sculls group. Nigeria is also making great strides in health. The 2015 Nigeria MIS Key Indicators Report shows malaria prevalence by microscopy decreased from 42% among children age 6-59 months in 2010 to 27% in 2015.

Dipa Karmakar is the first female gymnast from India to qualify, ranking 4th in the women’s vault finals. Though she was just .15 points short of winning the bronze, her presence and performance have made a huge impact. As early as 1992-93, data from the National Family and Health Surveys have allowed program managers and policy makers to make an impact on the health of India’s population.

Many new bars were set in athletics competition. Ethiopian long-distance runner Almaz Ayana crushed the world record while earning a gold medal in the women’s 10,000m race. The ongoing 2016 Ethiopia DHS will reveal where Ethiopia has made notable improvements in health indicators.

Jemima Sumgong became the first Kenyan woman to win gold for a marathon event. Kenya has made impressive gains in malaria prevention, where children’s use of insecticide-treated nets has increased by 50 percentage points in a little over a decade.

The #DHSgames will come to a close this weekend, so watch our Twitter feeds and subscribe to this blog to get our take on all the final events!









12 Aug

#DHSgames Week One – Round Two

In our medal count to wrap up this first week of the #DHSgames, Kazakhstan moves into first place among DHS countries (and 12th overall), with seven total medals including gold in both swimming and weightlifting. Thailand is still going strong in 2nd place in the #DHSgames. Since our August 8th report, Thailand has earned an additional gold and silver, for a cumulative total of four medals, all in weightlifting. In 3rd place is Brazil, host of this year’s games and where the last DHS survey was conducted in 1996. Brazil won a gold and bronze in judo and a silver in 10m Air Pistol.

Clearly, weightlifting is a sport where DHS countries shine. Egypt has also done some heavy lifting. And we don’t just mean the heavy lifting Egypt has accomplished in maternal health, increasing skilled provider assisted births from 35% in 1988 to 92% in 2014.


Two Egyptian weightlifters won medals this week. On Thursday, trailblazer Sara Ahmed became the first women from an Arab country to win an Olympic medal in any sport when she lifted 255 kg in the women’s 69 kg weightlifting event, taking home the bronze.

Speaking of women’s empowerment, Demographic and Health Surveys include women’s status and empowerment indicators such as literacy, education, employment, and control over earnings. Recent surveys also contain information on women’s participation in household decisions, attitudes toward wife-beating, and hurdles faced by women in accessing health care for themselves. As advances are made in empowering women worldwide, DHS surveys continue to measure progress. Congratulations to Sara Ahmed. This event was generally a big one for DHS countries—Kazakhstan’s Zhazira Zhapparkul took the silver!

In other Egyptian weightlifting news, Mohammed Ihab took home a bronze in the Men’s 77 kg event after he lifted 361 kg. With all this talk about weightlifting, let’s take a moment to talk about weighting in DHS surveys. Like many countries, the population in Egypt is not evenly distributed among governorates. In order to provide representative data at the governorate level for the 2014 Egypt DHS,  sampling weights were used. Reading DHS Tables provides more information about sampling and weighting in the 2014 Egypt DHS. Additionally, the video below provides a great introduction to the principles of DHS Sampling Weights.

You too can participate in the #DHSgames on Twitter and Facebook.  Until our next update on Monday, August 15, be sure to watch DHS countries compete in badminton, fencing, volleyball, field hockey, and handball. Track and field competition starts today, and we’re excited to cheer on the athletes in this piece of the #DHSgames!

08 Aug

#DHSgames Week One – Round One

Here’s the first medal count of the 2016 #DHSgames! Our top three medalists are Thailand, earning one gold and one bronze medal; Vietnam, winning one gold medal; and Kazakhstan, with one silver and one bronze. Thailand, a country whose last DHS survey was in 1987, won two medals in weightlifting events. Vietnam, whose last survey was an AIDS Indicator Survey in 2005, earned its first-ever gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol contest. Athletes in Kazakhstan, a country with two DHS surveys in the 1990s, won silver and bronze medals during judo competitions.

Other #DHSgames medal winners include Uzbekistan, South Africa, Philippines, Indonesia, and Brazil. Among these countries, Philippines released the latest DHS in 2013, though a South Africa DHS is currently ongoing.

Of particular note, the Philippines earned their first-ever medal in women’s weightlifting, which is also their first medal since 1996! In terms of global health success, almost all Filipino households have access to an improved source of drinking water.

In football news: the Brazil women’s national team is dominating the field with 6 points, while the Nigeria men’s national team is leading the way (6) with Mexico (4), Colombia (2), and Brazil (2) not far behind.

Our next medal count will take place August 12. In the meantime, be sure to follow #DHSgames on Twitter and Facebook!

Want to learn more about the #DHSgames? Read here>>





03 Aug

Get into the Spirit of the 2016 #DHSgames

Click on >> to show the map’s legend.

With the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics, The DHS Program is kicking off its own event of sorts – The DHS Games!

If you have been following us since the summer of 2012, you may recall: The DHS Games are our way of celebrating the countries we work with (90 of which are participating in the actual Olympics). On social media, primarily on Twitter and Facebook, we will be keeping track of these ‘DHS countries,’ bringing attention to those that have completed a DHS survey since the 2012 London Olympics.

We will provide a statistical and global health perspective, as well as report on the competition and athletes themselves – though we will be rooting for everyone!

How can you keep up with The DHS Games, you ask? Make sure you follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and watch out for #DHSgames. We will be talking about this for the entirety of the Olympics, all 17 days!

We hope you observe #DHSgames with us! What teams are you rooting for? What sports are you going to follow? Do you have a favorite athlete? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

27 Jul

Connecting GIS and Public Health: 2016 Regional Health Data Mapping Workshop

Participants from Kenya and Zambia discussing their hand drawn maps.

In August, The DHS Program Geospatial team is hosting this year’s Regional Health Data Mapping Workshop in Accra, Ghana. The workshop will focus on the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) in public health, specifically using maps for better program and policy decisionmaking. This will be a basic workshop that introduces participants to data concepts including management and cleaning of data in Microsoft Excel, introduction to GIS concepts (including GPS data collection), using maps as part of the decisionmaking process, and hands-on introduction to QGIS, an open source GIS software package.

Participant from Zambia working on a 3-D data visualization activity.

We are excited to share mapmaking skills with a new group of participants! From finalizing the venue, selecting participants, and preparing the curriculum, we are working hard to organize everything for the workshop. Selecting the workshop participants was the most difficult part of the process so far but in the end, 20 participants were accepted out of the 600 that applied!

In 2015, we hosted a similar workshop in East Africa and also had over 600 applicants for 20 spots. We believe this continued show of interest indicates how important a skill mapmaking is, and the great need for this skill in the health sector across the world. The workshop curriculum facilitates learning these skills via guided activities, group work, and hands-on software activities where participants get to show off their hard work!

This year’s workshop specifically targets West African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) and two others, Chad and Egypt, where The DHS Program has recently done or will soon be doing a household survey.

Applicants didn’t need to be experts in GIS to be selected – in fact, we preferred that they weren’t! We wanted applicants with little to no GIS experience, though certainly sought those with an interest in learning and strong data skills. In our selection, we focused on individuals with current positions within government ministries, development partners, and local universities. We hope that participants use their newfound health mapping skills to improve the use of DHS data and other data for decisionmaking in their home countries, and also to teach others in their home offices.

Participants from Tanzania practicing GPS data collection skills.

Even individuals who do not attend the workshop can still benefit from the learning of those who do and also from self-taught learning through our many mapmaking and data analysis-related resources at The DHS Program. These include the Spatial Data Repository, STATcompiler, Spatial Analysis Reports, and video tutorials.

I will be co-facilitating the workshop, so stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how it all went!

20 Jul

Spotlight on New Staff: Trinadh Dontamsetti

Name: Trinadh Dontamsetti

Position title: Health Geographic Analyst

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Telugu

When not working, favorite place to visit:  You mean other than grandma’s house to get some home-cooked food? I have a definite soft spot for my hometown of Tampa, Florida and its perpetually great weather (and mom’s home-cooked food).

Favorite type of cuisine: I can’t say I’ve got a favorite, if only because I’ll eat anything and everything that looks good.  I most often catch myself cooking Italian or Chinese food, however.

Last good book you read: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.  While really heavy, it’s one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

Where would we find you on a Saturday?  Any number of places, depending on the time! A typical Saturday includes a long workout at the gym, a longer drive on winding roads (it’s my go-to stress relief), and a trip into DC to undo my workout by eating far too much.

First time you worked with DHS survey data: During my Master’s program at the University of South Florida, using 2013 Nigeria DHS GPS data as part of a study on schistosomiasis transmission.

What is on your desk (or bulletin board/wall) right now?  I’m a minimalist, so not much (that’s a better way of saying I’m too lazy to decorate).  I do have a tiny, magnetic alpaca that a friend brought me from Peru, and I plan to surround him with souvenirs once I get back from my first DHS trip to Ghana!

What is your favorite survey final report cover?   2010-11 Senegal DHS.  I’m a huge fan of geometric art.

Favorite chapter or indicator, and why? One of my major focuses during my Master’s program was vector-borne disease (specifically Integrated Vector Management as an alternative way of combating these diseases), so the indoor residual spraying indicator is of particular interest to me.

What’s your favorite way to access The DHS Program’s data?  You can’t go wrong with the Spatial Data Repository (SDR) and STATCompiler!

What population or health issue are you most passionate about?  Why?  I’ve been most fascinated and passionate about studying tuberculosis (TB), given that it’s been around for so long and yet continues to be such a burden all over the world.  With few exceptions, I focused almost all of my projects during grad school (including my final thesis) on studying some aspect of TB.  Since there’s so much overlap between TB and other diseases (most notably HIV/AIDS), I’ve been trying to familiarize myself further with the HIV/AIDS work done by DHS so that I can get a better understanding of the interplay between these two diseases.

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?  I’m extremely excited that I’ll be working on analytical projects and conducting research as part of my work here, which makes all those late nights in the computer lab during grad school doing analytical projects and conducting research seem just a little bit more worth it in the long run.

What has been your biggest surprise so far?  The incredible amount of support I so routinely receive from everyone in the office as I settle into my position, and the continued opportunities I’m being given to learn new things but also contribute to ongoing projects by applying the skills I’ve brought in.

What do you look forward to bringing to The DHS Program (job-related or not!)? A public health-centric GIS perspective, an unhealthy obsession with food (did I mention it at least three times already in this post?), an even less healthy obsession with superheroes and cars, and a nearly endless supply of optimism and sarcasm (could this be any more cliché?).

13 Jul

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Tchad


In April 2016, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Tchad. This post is one in a series of interviews with visitors to DHS headquarters. Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!

Nom : Riguide Mbaissanadje (Point Focal du Ministère de la Sante Publique), Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye (Chef de Service des Etudes de Population et Perspectives Démographiques de e’INSEED), et Boyalngar Mbatina (Chef de Département des Etudes Démographiques  et de la Cartographie à l’Institut National de la Statistique)

Pays d’origine : Tchad

Racontez un peu la première fois que vous avez travaillé sur des données de « The DHS Program »:

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye: Je me suis retrouvé dans une situation semblable aux autres occasions où j’en ai travaillé sur la relecture et finalisation d’un rapport d’enquête nationale du Tchad

Boyalngar Mbatina : Préparation du mémoire de fin d’études pour l’obtention du Diplôme D’Études Supérieures Spécialisées en Démographie (DESSD)

Qu’est-ce que vous avez trouvé comme surprise  agréable lors de votre séjour  à « The DHS Program »?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La sympathie.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Le temps passe plus vite que je ne m’attendais.

Boyalngar Mbatina : L’organisation du travail ainsi que la spécialité de chaque agent.

Qu’est-ce que vous manque le plus de chez vous quand vous êtes ici ?

Riguide Mbaissanadje: Les chaînes de télévision en Français

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye: L’ambiance en famille

Quelle est la plus grande différence entre le bureau de «The DHS Program » et votre bureau dans votre pays ?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La salle de café.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye et Boyalngar Mbatina : Le bureau DHS est bien équipé avec le minimum requis et les cadres disposent de moyens matériels pour effectuer les travaux et les tâches sont réparties d’avance.  Ce n’est pas comme chez nous où une personne ne peut pas faire beaucoup de tâches en même temps.

Quelle est votre  page de couverture préférée ?

Tout : EDST-2 du Tchad de 2004

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi ? 

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Chapitre 12, Mortalité des enfants de moins de 5 ans parce qu’il montre que la mortalité infantile est faible dans le Barh, El Grazal et le LAC.  Il y a lieu de faire une recherche sur la corrélation qui existe entre la mortalité et les indicateurs sanitaires (soins prénatals, vaccination des enfants et accouchement assisté).

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Le paludisme.  Il y a 8 ménages sur 10 qui possèdent une MII (EDS-MICS 2014-15) bien qu’au Nord il n’y a pratiquement pas de paludisme.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Le chapitre sur la fécondité et l’ISF car il permet de bien comprendre les enjeux réels des problèmes et questions de population dans un pays en développement.

Quel est le thème de population ou de santé qui vous intéresse le plus, et pourquoi ?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Le VIH/SIDA. Parce que pendant la collecte, avant la collecte, j’étais le responsable de tous les matériels… On a eu beaucoup de difficultés pendant la collecte et l’analyse au laboratoire mais les résultats nous réconfortent.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : La consommation d’alcool et de tabac, les maladies nontransmissibles constituent des pathologies émergentes faisant sournoisement de savage au sein de la population et il est intéressant d’étudier les causes les plus communes qui sont le tabagisme, l’abus d’alcool, un régime alimentaire  malsain et l’inactivité physique.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Malnutrition des enfants de moins de 5 ans, car un enfant qui a un problème de croissance après deux dans, il y a peu de chance pour qu’une intervention, quoiqu’elle soit, puisse améliorer la situation.

Comment espérez-vous que les données de l’EDS sur votre pays seront utilisées ?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Les données seront utilisées pour l’élaboration des documents politiques et stratégiques des Ministères de la Santé Publique, de l’Education Nationale et de la Femme et de l’Action Sociale

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Restitution des principaux résultats aux institutions clés et personnes enquêtées; valorisation des données ; enseignements méthodologiques tirés ; concrétisation des objectifs et usages de données colletées

Boyalngar Mbatina : Pour la planification du développement et pour l’amélioration des conditions sanitaires et de vie de la population

Qu’avez–vous appris en travaillant avec «The DHS Program »?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La collecte de sang à travers le DBS, conservation sur le terrain et la transmission au laboratoire.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : La répartition équilibrée des tâches et la rigueur scientifique dans la rédaction des commentaires concernant les niveaux d’indicateurs qui ne sont pas attendues.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Le sens de responsabilité dans le travail, la rigueur dans le travail, le désir d’en savoir plus, et l’esprit d’équipe et de collaboration.

The 2014-15 Tchad EDS-MICS was released on July 11, 2016. Download the final report here.






29 Jun

Strengthening Afghanistan’s Health Sector: Evidence from the 2015 Afghanistan DHS

Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz (left), Sayed Alam Shinwari, Micheal Kugelman, and Larry Sample at The Wilson Center's Event, "A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector"

Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz (left), Sayed Alam Shinwari, Michael Kugelman, and Larry Sampler at The Wilson Center’s Event, “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector”

Working in collaboration, two Afghan government organizations– the Central Statistics Organization and the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) – conducted Afghanistan’s first Demographic and Health Survey (AfDHS). “This in itself is an enormous milestone,” said Larry Sampler, Assistant to the Administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at USAID during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center, “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector.” Sampler, joined by the Afghanistan Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz; Sayed Alam Shinwari, President of the Afghan Medical Professionals Association of America; and Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South Asia at The Wilson Center highlighted the implications of the Afghan government’s efforts to improve maternal and child health as demonstrated in the newly released 2015 AfDHS Key Indicators Report (KIR).

AfDHS-KIROf particular interest to both the MOPH and USAID, AfDHS results show progress in reducing childhood mortalityCurrently, about 1 in 20 children does not survive until their 5th birthday in Afghanistan. The majority of these childhood deaths occur during the first year of life. Compared to earlier time periods, both infant and under-five mortality have declined, suggesting that child health interventions are making a difference. Dr. Feroz explains, “The DHS survey shows that there is substantial improvement in maternal health and child health. This progress has been made through high-level commitments, a productive work environment with development partners as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local NGOs, scaling up of cost effective and lifesaving interventions across the country, training of midwives, as well as attention to equity and those living in remote areas.”

“The DHS survey demonstrates how far the Afghan public health sector has come and also how far it has to go,” stated Larry Sampler. What are the challenges of Afghanistan’s health sector? “Afghanistan still faces instability and insecurity, poverty, unemployment, the few number of midwives or health staff across the country,” explains Dr. Feroz. But in spite of these challenges, the Afghan MOPH is developing a national strategy for the next five years. “We will use this recent survey as a baseline to measure progress – to increase access to remote areas, improve the quality of services, introduce cost-effective interventions, and focus on equity issues.”

Dr. Fred Arnold of The DHS Program with Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan Minister of Public Health

Dr. Fred Arnold (left)  of The DHS Program with Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan Minister of Public Health

The survey covered topics including fertility and family planning, maternal and child health, childhood and maternal mortality, nutrition, malaria, HIV knowledge, and other health issues. The KIR is a short report of key indicators from the 2015 AfDHS that is meant to provide important data in a timely fashion to program managers and policy makers. Additional indicators such as the maternal mortality ratio will be included in the AfDHS Final Report, scheduled for release in late 2016.

To learn more about the Woodrow Wilson Center’s event, watch “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector” or visit the Wilson Center’s website.

The 2015 Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey (2015 AfDHS) was implemented by the Central Statistics Organization and the Ministry of Public Health from June 15, 2015, to February 23, 2016. The funding for the AfDHS was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). ICF International provided technical assistance through The DHS Program, a USAID-funded project providing support and technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide.

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

The DHS Program, ICF International
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