Category Archives: Fellows

26 Oct

DHS Fellows at Obafemi Awolowo University Strengthen Capacity of Nigerian Researchers

Participants at the July 2016 DHS data analysis workshop by OAU Fellows

The DHS Fellows Program aims not only to build individual capacity to conduct research with DHS data but also to strengthen the institutional capacity of universities in Africa. Over the years, DHS Fellows have implemented their own capacity strengthening activities in various forms at their home universities and have contributed to the increased use of DHS data in academia in Africa. DHS Fellows from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria have been particularly successful in building their home university’s capacity to use DHS data and expanding activities outside of OAU, continuing them for years even after the conclusion of their fellowship.

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Participants at the July, 2013 DHS data analysis workshop by OAU Fellows

As early as 2010, OAU started introducing DHS data in a departmental seminar series for staff and postgraduate students, initiated by a 2010 DHS Fellow and the head of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics at the time, Dr. Samson O. Bamiwuye. When three more faculty members Drs. Akinlo, Bisiriyu, and Esimaijoined the Fellows program in 2012, they were able to scale-up activities to host their first DHS data analysis workshop for OAU faculty. Meanwhile, with the support of Professor Peter Ogunjuyigbe, another head of the Department of Demography, the Fellows successfully integrated the use of DHS data into undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. DHS data use in final year projects was recommended for all undergraduate students in the department.

Through 2014, the team – joined by Dr. Akinyemi, another 2010 DHS Fellow– continued to host trainings to teach participants how to appropriately analyze DHS data. Moreover, they expanded their reach to participants from other universities and non-academic research institutions across Nigeria. They also experimented with charging a small fee to cover production of teaching materials and other logistical costs, which encouraged participants to make full use of workshop time. Given their expertise in DHS data use, Fellows have also been invited by other organizations to train staff on DHS data. For example, Dr. Akinolo was invited to facilitate a data analysis workshop at the National Population Commission.

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Participants at the Further Analysis of DHS capacity building workshop at the National Population Commission, Abuja, Nigeria, 2016

In 2016, another three members from the OAU Department of Demography and Social Statistics – Drs. Asa, Titilayo, and Kupoluyi – were selected to participate in the Fellows Program. The 2016 team worked with former Fellows and continued the Nigerian capacity strengthening activities. Two more workshops were organized that included OAU faculty as well as participants from Federal University in Oye-Ekiti, Bowen University, Iwo, University of Ibadan, National Bureau of Statistics, Academy for Health Development, OAU Health Centre, and Research & Marketing Services. These workshops aimed to raise the awareness of DHS data, teach participants how to use STATA software and DHS datasets to conduct research, and encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches in research. Feedback from the workshop participants indicates the team’s success in achieving these aims:

“This workshop is the first of its kind where we were given the opportunity to undergo intensive training on the use of DHS datasets in STATA. The workshop improved my level of interpretation of results and capacity in assisting students in their use of statistical software and analysis.”

“The use of STATA in analyzing DHS data has enabled me to carry out trend analysis of various factors in the NDHS data which I have used in write-ups for further career development.”

“After the training workshop, I have been able to maximize my new skills to consolidate and conceptualize my research ideas using a DHS dataset. A one-year post-training plan was thereafter developed and efforts are being made to ensure that I meet the set targets.”

All DHS Fellows from OAU, also known as “Team Nigeria,” embody commitment and hard work, going beyond the objective of The DHS Fellows Program to strengthen institutional capacity. Between 2012 and 2016, Team Nigeria has trained over 100 participants from a variety of universities and organizations in Nigeria. Their ultimate (and likely attainable) goal is to become the training center for complex data analysis in the region.

Interested in applying to the 2017 DHS Fellows Program? We are accepting applications until December 2 2016. Learn more>>

Thank you to Drs. Asa, Kupoluyi, and Titilayo, who contributed to this blog post.

Dr. Sola ASA is a Demographer and a Biostatistician. Sola teaches at the Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria as a Senior Lecturer. His main research interests include maternal and child health, reproductive health, survey methodology and statistical techniques. His research has been published locally and internationally.

Dr. Joseph Ayodeji KUPOLUYI is a Lecturer at the ObafemiAwolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He lectures in the Department of Demography and Social Statistics. He holds degrees in Demography and Social Statistics. His areas of interest are in maternal and child Health, family planning, and reproductive health issues.

 

Dr. Ayotunde TITILAYO holds a Ph.D. in Demography and Social Statistics. He is a faculty member of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. His research and publication interests span across maternal and child health, gender-based domestic violence, and reproductive health matters. He also teaches social research methodology courses.

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18 Oct

Reflections from Elizabeth Nansubuga, a 2013 DHS Fellow

I was a DHS Fellow in 2013, part of a three-person team from the “Harvard of Africa,” Makerere University. The DHS Fellows Program came at a time when I had just enrolled for my doctoral studies in South Africa. As part of my doctoral studies, I had to apply advanced statistical techniques in analyzing maternal health-seeking behavior in Uganda using DHS data. Hence, the fellowship could not have come at a better time! It remains a remarkable experience to date, one that continues to impact my professional career.

Elizabeth Nansubuga co-facilitating the 2016 DHS Fellows workshop

Throughout The DHS Fellows Program, we were introduced to how to appropriately use DHS data and several analytical techniques using STATA software. These techniques were very useful in my doctoral studies. With the knowledge I acquired during the fellowship, I became known as a DHS data ‘expert’ among my peers and faculty colleagues and was able to share with them correct methods to analyze DHS data. It should come as no surprise that my Fellows teammate, Simon Kibira, acquired a further interest in the topic we worked on – male circumcision and HIV. He went on to pursue doctoral studies on the same topic.

After completing my doctoral studies at North West University, I returned to Makerere University and became a lecturer, which meant I would be teaching additional postgraduate courses. I have since been able to incorporate DHS data into my teaching materials. This was made easier with resources such as STATcompiler, DHS model datasets, and the mobile app – just a few of the numerous resources that Fellows are introduced to. And notably, since the fellowship, I had more confidence in supervising projects which used DHS data.

Sarah Staveteig, Patricia Ndugga, Elizabeth Nansubuga, and Wenjuan Wang after a presentation at The DHS Program headquarters

Later I had an opportunity with Ms. Patricia Ndugga, another former DHS Fellow and a colleague at Makerere University, to present our research based on DHS data to DHS staff at their Rockville, Maryland headquarters. Patricia presented an excerpt of her doctoral work, “Fertility preferences among postpartum women in Uganda.” Using the 2014-15 Uganda Malaria Indicator Survey, I presented my analysis “Determinants of three-dosage malaria intermittent preventive treatment among pregnant women in Uganda.” Here, we also received good feedback that greatly improved our work!

Afterward, I was invited to co-facilitate workshops during the 2016 Fellows Program. While I was happy to assist and share my knowledge and experiences, it was also an opportunity for me to continue enhancing my knowledge on DHS data and analytical skills, as well as to network with colleagues from other African countries.

Truly, there is nothing like The DHS Fellows Program that enhances one’s analytical and writing skills. It is also a Fellowship that enhances capacity building in universities. I encourage faculty engaged in demographic and health research to take advantage of this fellowship while it is offered.

Thanks to Elizabeth for contributing to The DHS Program blog! If you are interested in becoming a DHS Fellow, we are currently accepting applications for the 2017 program. Learn more here>>

Read some of Elizabeth and Patricia’s published work:

ELIZABETH NANSUBUGA is a faculty member in the Department of Population Studies at Makerere University, Uganda. She holds a Ph.D. in Population Studies. She is passionate about research that impacts policy and society. Her research interests are geared towards the improvement of maternal and child health with a major focus on characterization of maternal near misses. Her other research interests include sexually transmitted diseases, circumcision and gender issues. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals. She is a recipient of several prestigious fellowships including the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholar, Population Reference Bureau Policy Communication Fellow, DHS Fellow, and African Doctoral Dissertation Fellow, among others. She has done consultancy work for several national and international organizations in the area of population and reproductive health. She is a member of several professional associations such as Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA), Population Association of America (PAA), and Union for African Population Studies (UAPS).

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04 Nov

Capacity Strengthening at Makerere University

Undergraduate students attentively listen to the presentation on The DHS Program.

By Betty Kwagala

Makerere University is one of the oldest Universities in Africa. Over the past 4 years, four teams of DHS Fellows (12 Fellows in all) have been selected from Makerere. Fellows have been drawn from School of Statistics and Planning, College of Business and Management Sciences and School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences. The two schools are closely related and work together in various ways including training, supervision of students’ research and faculty research in public health, population and reproductive health. DHS data are vital in several graduate and postgraduate courses taught in these two schools and a considerable number of faculty members also engage in research involving further DHS data analyses. The two schools had a second team of DHS Fellows this year.

I am among the faculty members at the School of Statistics and Planning of Makerere University that use DHS datasets for research. I had previously analysed DHS data but wanted to learn more about DHS data and be better equipped to use it in teaching and mentoring students. Therefore together with other two colleagues Ms. Olivia Nankinga and Dr. Cyprian Misinde in the Department of Population Studies, we applied for and were selected to participate in the 2015 DHS Fellows program.  During the program, I learned a lot ranging from sampling procedures, understanding complex indicators in DHS reports to correct analysis of DHS data.  My practical knowledge of Stata improved significantly.  I was impressed by the high quality of facilitation. Approaches used were adult sensitive, providing optimum opportunity for learning.  I appreciated the approach of learning by doing and emphasis on teamwork. The facilitators were highly knowledgeable, professional, yet empathetic and patient with the participants. The south-south co-facilitation of the workshop was excellent. Resources provided as part of the program are very useful.

Cyprian Misinde facilitating an undergraduate training session

Cyprian Misinde facilitating an undergraduate training session.

One of the objectives of the DHS Fellows Program is to increase the capacity to use DHS data in Fellows’ home universities through capacity-building activities implemented by the Fellows.  At the School of Statistics and Planning, few members of the School research teams were knowledgeable about proper analysis of DHS data or the rationale for the recommended procedures for analysis. Consequently, many staff members could not guide students appropriately. DHS data are often used inappropriately by staff and students.  To fill these gaps, working together with Ms. Nankinga and Dr. Misinde we implemented several activities that were designed to improve the capacity to use DHS data in the School.

For example, we held a training workshop titled “Appropriate use of DHS/AIS data for graduate and undergraduate students in the School of statistics and Planning 2014-2015 academic year” on 21st to 22nd August for graduate students at the School of Statistics and Planning. All masters programs were represented namely Masters in Statistics, Quantitative Economics, Population and Reproductive Health and Demography. The students are in the process of developing proposals for their master’s dissertations.  On average, thirty seven students attended the training each day.

Betty Kwagala facilitating a session.

Betty Kwagala facilitating a session.

To address the data need among undergraduates, we also conducted a half-day training that involved 44 third year students of pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Population Studies. They are expected to conduct research and write a dissertation as a partial fulfillment of the program requirements in the final year. Students were inquisitive and remained attentive throughout the sessions.

In addition, as part of our supervisory role, we are ensuring that students register to use the datasets, and that their proposals/dissertations take into account important elements of DHS data analysis (82 students have been trained and 20 supervised). We have integrated DHS content in our research methods courses. Two of the Fellows in the second team, Dr. Simon Kasasa and Ms. Allen Kabagenyi, conducted the first orientation session for Biostatistics students last month at the School of Public Health, in conjunction with Prof.  Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye and Prof. Robert Wamala.

Some of the key opportunities for the department and the school include keen interest and strong teamwork among faculty and the fact that the faculty and students were already using the datasets. Our research team has prepared an additional manuscript based on the UDHS (under review). We hope to collaborate more on DHS based research at school and university levels and possibly with our fellow alumni regionally.  The enthusiasm and interest of the students and their associations in proper analysis of DHS data is an important opportunity.  The training process has however been challenged by strikes of staff and students at the university and limited access to computers on the part of students.

Personally, I learned beyond my expectations and had a lot of fun as well. I highly recommend the Fellows program particularly for population, health and development researchers and lecturers for the benefit of our students, clients and careers.

 

Betty KwagalaBetty Kwagala is a Senior Lecturer at Makerere University School of Statistics and Planning, Department of Population Studies. Prior to lecturing, she was a research fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research. She now combines lecturing and research using mixed methods. She extensively uses DHS reports as reference materials for demographic and health statistics and a guide to designing survey questionnaires and DHS datasets for research. Her publications are mainly focused on gender relations, reproductive health, and health in general. Publications based on DHS data address gender based violence, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections. She was a 2015 DHS fellow.

21 Oct

Three Perspectives on the DHS Fellows Program from 2015 Fellows

 

2015 DHS Fellows

2015 DHS Fellows and DHS staff

The DHS Fellows Program brings participants together to strengthen their individual analytical skills and to sustainably increase their university’s capacity for using DHS data. As this year’s Fellows Program drew to a close we asked three Fellows, Allen Kabagenyi (Makerere University), Simona Joseph Simona (University of Zambia), and Clara Ladi Ejembi (Ahmadu Bello University), to reflect on their experience with the Fellows Program and with DHS data.


Overall Fellows Program and workshops

Simona: The 2015 DHS fellowship brought together five wonderful three-member teams from Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. I was a member of a team of participants from the Department of Social Development Studies at the University of Zambia.

Allen: Participants came from diverse backgrounds including: social sciences, medicine, statistics, demography and epidemiology.

Clara: The fellowship program comprised of two workshops and activities we undertook in-country in our institutions. Over the course of the two workshops, facilitated by two very amiable DHS staff and co-facilitated by three previous DHS Fellows, we were given hands-on training on the use of the DHS data in our research work.

Allen: During the first workshop in Kampala, Uganda, we were introduced to the capacity building program, DHS questionnaires, sampling and weighting, online tools, data structure and files among others. Furthermore, we learnt about The DHS Program, what they do, the coverage, target population and mandate.

A subsequent workshop was held in Zambia, where participants learnt about estimation of maternal, infant and child mortality using DHS data and Service Provision Assessment (SPA) tools. During the trainings, we were accorded a chance to present our projects and developed publishable DHS working papers with support from the DHS technical team.

Our achievements

Clara: We sent an abstract which was accepted for presentation at the forthcoming International Conference on Family Planning in Indonesia. We also secured approval for presentation of our research work at the forthcoming national conference of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria.

Allen: Results from our DHS-research fellowship will be presented in the forthcoming International Conference on Family Planning in Indonesia. It is an honor to have an oral presentation to stakeholders and professionals in the field of reproductive health. Our manuscript is ready for journal submission we are looking forward to having it published.

Simona: We are in the process of editing our paper for the targeted peer reviewed journal. We are also exploring a few other topics and collaborations with a view of preparing more papers and publications based on the DHS dataset.

Capacity strengthening at our university

Allen: Given the number of DHS fellows at Makerere University, plans are underway at the School of Statistics to have DHS data utilization integrated in teaching and research. At the department, there are on-going research projects based on DHS data from colleagues with some manuscripts submitted for review and publication. Masters students at the School of Public Health – Makerere University were excited and showed interest in future use.

Clara: At Ahmadu Bello University, we have been able to sensitize the university management and the university faculty on use of DHS data for teaching and research; and also on the fellowship program so that hopefully, more teams will apply from our institution this year. We have started the process of integrating DHS into our lectures in demography and statistics in the department.

Simona: I am happy to see that our participation in the DHS fellowship is already beginning to impact positively on our colleagues and students in our department through the capacity building plans we have started implementing. It is gratifying to see the level of enthusiasm among colleagues and students regarding the potential of the DHS data. I am positive that going forward, the DHS data will be integrated in our teaching and research activities and eventually yield many more publications.

Benefits of the Fellows Program

Simona: It was fulfilling to see the development of our paper as the Zambian team. The process of preparing it under the guidance of facilitators from The DHS Program and the co-facilitators was rigorous and yet empowering. We have acquired skills that will obviously be invaluable in our careers beyond the DHS fellowship.

Allen: The benefits of the program are countless from learning about The DHS Program, to acquiring skills in data analysis, appreciating the use of DHS data, networking and sharing information. Discussing country specific problems increased our understanding about other countries in the region.

Final words

Allen: It’s no doubt that I would recommend other people to participate in this fellowship as it is one of the best capacity building programs for teaching staff in strengthening their analytical and data utilization skills.

Simona: Personally, the DHS fellowship has been nothing short of inspirational and I am sure that the DHS data will form an integral part of my scholarship henceforth. I would urge eligible scholars in the coming years to grab the opportunity provided by the DHS fellowship.

Clara: Thank you very much DHS, for the opportunity to participate in one of the most enriching training programs I have undertaken in a long time.


We applaud all the 2015 DHS Fellows for their hard work and achievements! Be sure to read their papers, the final products from the 2015 DHS Fellows Program:

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Allen KabagenyiAllen Kabagenyi is a THRiVE PhD fellow from Makerere University, School of Statistics and Planning in Collaboration with University of Cambridge-UK. Her PhD research seeks to understand the explanations for the persistent high fertility rates in Uganda and low use of contraception. She lectures in Department of Population studies, School of Statistics and Planning.

Simona Joseph SimonaSimona Joseph Simona is a lecturer at the University of Zambia in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He was appointed lecturer after completing his master of research (M.Res) degree in sociology and research methods from the University of Glasgow in 2013. His areas of interest are mainly in sociology of health and illness, gender based violence and social science research methods.

Clara Ladi EjembiDr. Clara Ladi Ejembi is a Fellow of the Medical College of Public Health, and works as a Consultant Community Physician with the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital. Her areas of research and activism interests include reproductive health, maternal and child health, primary health care and HIV/AIDS and she has published in these areas.

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30 Oct

A Perspective on the DHS Fellows Program from a 2013 Fellow

2013 DHS Fellows

2013 DHS Fellows

By Simon Peter Kibira

In 2013, I was a member of a three-person team from Makerere University selected to participate in the DHS Fellows Program along with four other teams from African universities. The DHS Fellows program is designed to increase the capacity of countries to conduct further analysis of DHS data. Over the course of two intensive, yet enlightening, workshops, DHS staff mentored and encouraged us in our research endeavours.

DHS Fellows including Simon at the 2nd 2013 Fellows workshop in Kenya.

From L to R: 2013 DHS Fellows Madeleine Wayack- Pambè (Burkina Faso), Elizabeth Nansubuga (Uganda), and Simon Kibira at the 2nd 2013 Fellows workshop in Kenya.

The first workshop in Uganda focused on technical skills in using DHS data. The workshop consisted of various technical sessions that allowed participants to learn survey data analysis skills from the DHS researchers, to exchange research ideas among Fellows, and to hear about former Fellows’ experience working with DHS data.  The second workshop, held in Kenya, focused on writing our working papers. We refined analysis, addressed reviewers’ comments from DHS subject experts, and polished our final drafts.

The hands-on experience of working with DHS data through further analyses was such a remarkable experience.  The DHS facilitators and co-facilitators provided one-to-one assistance that made working through dataset challenges much easier. We had sessions where we listened to each team’s presentation about research findings. It was amazing to see how much we evolved over the course of two workshops to be able to positively critique each other’s work from very informed viewpoints. In my own perspective, we were turning into “DHS experts.”

Apart from the working paper, the workshop facilitators organized us to visit DHS implementers in Uganda–the Uganda Bureau of Statistics–through which we had a better understanding how DHS data were collected. We were also encouraged to disseminate our fellowship paper further through conferences and peer-reviewed journals. My team’s work resulted in three presentations at international conferences in Uganda, South Africa, and the US, and a peer-reviewed journal article. After the Fellowship ended I collaborated with other faculty at Makerere University, including a 2012 DHS Fellow, on a new study using DHS data. We recently published our findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

Further, we were encouraged to use DHS Program materials for capacity building trainings at our institutions. It is fulfilling to see that data collected nationally can be fully and properly utilised to benefit African university students and researchers, but also bring out results beyond what is published in DHS survey final reports. The onus is on all Fellows to take an extra step to ensure vital recommendations from published papers are utilised by health programs.

I am proud of the invaluable collegial network I have among the DHS Fellows. I know future collaboration can be based on such networks in different countries and universities. These are immeasurable benefits beyond the one year fellowship.

When the DHS Program asked me to co-facilitate the 2014 fellowship, my decision was a no-brainer. Aside from helping teams, I learned a lot as a co-facilitator from the Fellows. It was also very fulfilling to see Fellows’ papers in the DHS working paper series.

The mark the fellowship program has left on my academic and research career will endure throughout my career. The DHS Fellows program is an experience every early or mid-career professional in research and academia will find rewarding.  I hope many more people from DHS countries will benefit from the DHS Fellows program.







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2015 DHS Fellows Program

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 DHS Fellows Program through December 1, 2014. Applications must be from teams comprised of three faculty members from the same university who teach in departments of demography, public health, economics, sociology, geography, or other social sciences. Applications are only being accepted from faculty members at universities in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe. Read more>>

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Simon Peter Kibira is an Assistant lecturer at Makerere University in the School of Public Health. He started his career at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) in 2006 as a regional supervisor in the implementation of the 2006 UDHS. In 2008, he joined the faculty at Makerere University and in the 2011 UDHS he was part of the external team from the School of Public Health that did quality control during data collection. He authored the chapter on Family Planning in the 2011 UDHS final report.  Simon is a 2013 DHS Fellow and co-facilitated the 2014 Fellows workshops. He is currently pursuing further studies in International Health at University of Bergen and part of his study is based on Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey data, inspired by his participation in the 2013 DHS Fellows Program.

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