04 May 2021

The DHS Program at the 2021 PAA Annual Meeting

May 5th marks the first day of the 2021 Population Association of America (PAA) Annual Meeting. The premier conference of demographers and social and health scientists from the United States and abroad, this year’s PAA Annual Meeting is virtual. You must register to access sessions of the 2021 PAA Annual Meeting.

Over the next four days, demographers and public health professionals will present research, view and comment on posters, and network with peers. For those attending the PAA Annual Meeting, DHS Program staff will be presenting their findings using DHS data. Find the schedule below:

Wednesday, May 5, 2021Time*Type & Number
Trends and the Relationship between Maternal Health and Empowerment in Pakistan, 2012-2018
Lindsay Mallick, Rabia Zafar, Christina Juan, Johanna Useem
1:00pm-2:15pmSession 45
Thursday, May 6, 2021Time*Type & Number
Stunting and Anemia for Children in Urban Poor Environments
Shireen Assaf, Christina Juan
9:30-11:00amPoster 3-103
Trajectories Into Contraceptive Use Among Adolescents in Burundi, Colombia, and Nepal
Kerry L.D. MacQuarrie
10:45am-12:00pmSession 114
Gender- and Sexuality-Based Violence
Discussant: Dr. Sunita Kishor, Director, The DHS Program
1:00-2:15pmSession 134
Friday, May 7, 2021Time*Type & Number
Intention to Use Contraceptives in Jordan: Further Analysis of the Jordan Population and Family Health Survey 2017-18
Sara Riese
9:30-11:00amPoster 6-66
Disability Status and the Experience of Unintended Pregnancy in 5 Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Kerry L.D. MacQuarri
e, Julia Fleuret
1:30-3:00pmPoster 7-48
Contraceptive Use, Method Mix, and Method Availability: A Multilevel Analysis
Lindsay Mallick, Shireen Assaf, Michelle Weinberger, Gbaike Ajayi
2:30-3:45pmSession 238
*All times listed are in Central Daylight Time

Use web and mobile tools from The DHS Program to explore DHS survey data for yourself:


Featured image © rexandpan, stock.adobe.com

21 Apr 2021

Learn How to Use The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub

The DHS Program recently released three YouTube tutorial videos to help DHS data users access The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub. The Code Share Library was started in 2018 to provide code for producing DHS indicators listed in the Guide to DHS Statistics using statistical software like Stata or SPSS. This year, The DHS Program has begun preparing R code as well. You do not need to create a GitHub account to copy or download any code to produce DHS indicators; it is publicly available for use.

The first video, Overview of The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub, explains the main components of the Code Share Library, including Stata and SPSS repositories, the indicator list, ReadMe file, and chapter folder contents. In each repository on GitHub, there is an important ReadMe file with instructions for users to read before using the code provided.

The second tutorial video, Preparing to Run The DHS Program’s Shared Code in Stata, demonstrates how to prepare to run code to produce DHS indicators in the statistical software Stata using the model datasets. The model datasets were created strictly for practice and do not represent any country’s actual data. Unlike datasets for specific surveys, users do NOT need to register to download model datasets.

One way to start using the Code Share Library is to download the entire repository on your computer. If any update is made to the code in the future, you will need to download the updated code from the Code Share Library. Another way to run the code is to copy and paste the code for your indicator of interest from GitHub to your own personal do file, without having to download the entire repository.

The third video, Running The DHS Program’s Shared Code on Stata, demonstrates how to run the code in Stata to construct indicator variables and produce tables for the indicators. The tables provide a simple tabulation that follows the standard DHS tabulation plan used for survey final reports.

If you do not understand why an indicator was coded in a specific way, check the Guide to DHS Statistics. If you have further questions, email us at codeshare@dhsprogram.com or post your question on The DHS Program User Forum. Follow The DHS Program on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the latest news about code updates (including forthcoming R code), survey dataset releases, and more. Happy coding!

31 Mar 2021

Reflections from the 2020 DHS Fellows Program

The DHS Fellows Program builds the long-term institutional capacity of universities in DHS countries to train students and faculty to analyze DHS data. Since 2011, the DHS Fellows Program has trained more than 150 researchers from over 40 universities in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Typically, Fellows attend two separate in-person workshops, prepare publication-quality research papers in teams using DHS datasets, and implement capacity strengthening activities at their home universities.

For the 2020 DHS Fellows Program, a cohort of university faculty from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Jordan, and Pakistan convened for the first workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2020. The second workshop, scheduled to begin in April 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DHS Program worked quickly to convert the second workshop into online activities. A remote teaching space was created on The DHS Program Learning Hub with presentations and assignments for the Fellows to complete. Virtual meetings were held with each Fellows team to discuss drafts of their working papers.

The 2020 DHS Fellows produced working papers that addressed a variety of research topics including:

As of this blog’s publication, the teams from Jordan and Cameroon have published their working papers in peer-reviewed journals. Visit The DHS Program Fellows page to see all DHS Fellows’ working papers and publications in peer-reviewed journals.

We interviewed teams of 2020 Fellows from the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh and the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry in Guinea about the virtual DHS capacity strengthening activities conducted for faculty and students.

Bangladesh

For their working paper, Nazmul Alam, Mohammad Manir Hossain Mollah, and Sharin Shajahan Naomi wrote about the prevalence and determinants of adolescent fertility. They conducted two virtual capacity strengthening sessions via Zoom, one for 21 faculty members, researchers, and development practitioners, and another session for 25 students. In the sessions, the Fellows introduced participants to The DHS Program, reviewed basic characteristics of DHS data, and highlighted how one can effectively generate new ideas from available DHS data without needing to conduct field research, which has become difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although we were a bit hesitant about the outcome of online sessions, they appeared to be beneficial…faculty members from social sciences, public health, and natural sciences joined…after the workshop, we got very positive feedback.”

Mohammad Manir Hossain Mollah, Sharin Shajahan Naomi, and Nazmul Alam, 2020 DHS Fellows from the Asian University for Women. “We believed that we could deliver the outcome despite the challenges of the pandemic due to our teamwork and mutual understanding.”

Guinea

Bienvenu Salim Camara, Sidikiba Sidibé, and Nafissatou Dioubate wrote about non-use of contraceptives among married women. Days before their planned capacity strengthening presentations, Guinea declared a health emergency due to COVID-19. Universities were closed and gatherings of more than 20 people were prohibited, so the Fellows recorded video presentations introducing The DHS Program survey questionnaires and datasets and uploaded them to Google drive. Students watched the videos at their own pace and emailed the Fellows with questions. Now some students are using DHS data in their research. “One of my students is currently working on his Master’s thesis in maternal health using DHS data, and I am supporting him in the data analysis,” explains Camara. Dioubate notes, “I am proud that I was able to pass on the knowledge gained from the DHS Fellows Program to others and show the opportunities that DHS data can offer.”

Sidikiba Sidibé, Nafissatou Dioubate, and Bienvenu Salim Camara, 2020 DHS Fellows from the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry. “My favorite part was the capacity building in DHS database analysis. This allowed me to undertake other analyses on nutrition indicators using Guinea datasets (food practices for infants and young children) as well as capacity building activities for my students,” notes Sidibé.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the DHS Fellows Program was suspended for 2021. In the meantime, take open courses available on The DHS Program Learning Hub and watch for upcoming Workshop and Training Announcements.

08 Mar 2021

International Women’s Day 2021

The DHS Program collects data for Sustainable Development Goal #5 related to gender equality. For International Women’s Day 2021, UN Women’s theme is “Women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The DHS Program has a long history of collecting data on women’s decision making power, equal earnings, domestic violence, access to health care services, and more.

Explore indicators related to women’s empowerment, reproductive health, and more using STATcompiler. Download Stata and SPSS code for these and other topics from The DHS Program’s code library on GitHub, and check out the wealth of gender-related resources and publications available at dhsprogram.com.

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goal #5, gender equality indicators from recent DHS surveys in the infographic below.


Featured image © Jonathan Torgovnik, Getty Images, Images of Empowerment

24 Feb 2021

Spatial Anonymization in Household Surveys

Location is an important factor in population and health outcomes. Knowing the geospatial location of household survey clusters allows researchers to analyze the impact of location on peoples’ health, nutrition, and access to health care services. Geospatial data provide a clearer picture of where progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals is and is not being made at subnational levels.

The United Nations’ Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys (ISWGHS) was convened to identify priority areas for household surveys to meet new data demands and increase their impact on policy and research over the next decade of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the ISWGHS, The DHS Program and the World Bank co-led a task force on Spatial Anonymization of Public-Use Household Survey Datasets.

The DHS Program has collected GPS coordinates for household survey clusters since 1996. To ensure respondent confidentiality and prevent positive identification (disclosure) of respondent locations, the GPS position of each urban cluster is displaced by up to two kilometers and up to 5-10 kilometers for rural clusters. This method of geomasking coordinates developed by The DHS Program is straightforward and has been widely accepted by analysts using DHS geospatial data. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns that urban points may be overly displaced, reducing the analytical usefulness of the geospatial data, and that some rural points may not be adequately displaced to ensure respondent confidentiality. In response, the spatial anonymization task force convened to explore more sophisticated methods of anonymizing geospatial data.

The task force developed and tested new population-based displacement tools on multiple DHS survey datasets. These tools use an area’s population to determine the minimum distance a cluster’s GPS position must be displaced. These new methods show promise over current spatial anonymization methods to better protect survey respondents while minimizing any adverse impact on analysis and continue to be explored using DHS datasets.

The task force also outlines immediate steps that can be taken to protect respondents. “Even without switching to a new population-based approach [to anonymize geospatial data], we should take steps to verify that we are within an acceptable level of disclosure risk and that our current anonymization objectives are being achieved,” explains Trinadh Dontamsetti, Lead, Geospatial Research. Standards in data protection and security have evolved—the European Union General Data Protection Regulation requires that personal data, including location data, be safeguarded. The task force recommends assessing the risk of disclosure. By quantifying and measuring spatial disclosure risk, the risk can be managed.

Read the “Spatial Anonymization” report for more from the Spatial Anonymization of Public-Use Household Survey Datasets task force. This report was also discussed by stakeholders to prepare a forthcoming paper on “Positioning Household Surveys for the Next Decade.” Both papers will be presented as part of the 52nd Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission: Better Data Better Lives on March 1-3 and 5, 2021.


01 Feb 2021

New Online Course: Health Data Mapping Online Course

The DHS Program is hosting another Health Data Mapping online course on The DHS Program Learning Hub. The 12-week course focuses on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) in public health, specifically using maps for better program and policy decision making. Participants will be introduced to GIS concepts, manage and clean data in Microsoft Excel, and get a hands-on introduction to QGIS, an open-source GIS software package.

This course is for people who:

  • Have little to no GIS experience, but have an interest in learning QGIS and strong data skills.
  • Live and work in a West African country (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo).
  • Have at least an undergraduate degree in public health, demography, statistics, monitoring & evaluation, or a related subject, and basic training in statistics.
  • Currently work for government ministries, development partners, NGOs, or universities in the field of public health.
  • Can understand and communicate in English—the course will be conducted in English and participants will be expected to give presentations in English.
  • Have experience using Excel and have a computer that can run the latest stable release of QGIS.

The Health Data Mapping online course begins April 12 and ends July 3, 2021. Participants can expect to spend two to four hours a week working independently on self-paced lessons and completing assignments. Course facilitators will give feedback on assignments and answer questions on the course discussion forum and during periodic instructor-led virtual sessions.

The Health Data Mapping online course is ideal for those interested in learning about GIS to improve evidence-based decision making. Explore mapmaking and data analysis resources at The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository, STATcompiler, Spatial Analysis Reports, and video tutorials.

Apply now: the deadline is Monday, February 15, 2021.

16 Dec 2020

New Online Course: Introduction to the Demographic and Health Surveys

  • What are the 3 objectives of The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program?
  • How many months does a standard DHS survey take, from design to data dissemination?
  • How many questionnaires are used in a standard DHS survey?

Have you ever wondered about the questions above? There is always something new to learn about Demographic and Health Surveys! Even the most experienced survey implementers and researchers will discover something they did not know in our new 30-minute introductory course. The newest addition to The DHS Program Learning Hub is a short and engaging orientation of The DHS Program. The course covers the main objectives of the survey, key terms, survey types and topics, and the survey process.  

This introductory course is available for free to anyone. To access the course, you must complete a short registration form. The course can be taken independently and will also be a pre-requisite for other courses offered on The DHS Program Learning Hub.


An animated video from the course showcases the DHS survey process and is also available on our YouTube channel.

02 Dec 2020

DHS Program Analysis Updates: Fall 2020

The DHS Program Research and Analysis team has recently published several studies that analyze new DHS data or employ novel approaches to analyze existing DHS data.

Analysis of New Sickle Cell Data

The 2018 Nigeria DHS includes sickle cell genotyping of a subsample of 11,186 children age 6-59 months, the first population-based household survey to do so at a national level. A new Working Paper, Analysis of Sickle Cell Genotypes of Young Children in Nigeria Using the 2018 DHS Survey, finds that the siblings of genotyped children with sickle cell disease are about 2.5 times as likely to have died as the siblings of other genotyped children. The main value of the data is the description of the spatial distribution of the genotypes within Nigeria. The S and C alleles, which result in sickle cell disease, sickle cell trait, or Hemoglobin C trait, are primarily concentrated in states in the South West Zone, including Lagos, and secondarily in the North Central Zone. This information is helpful for estimating the burden of risk and for prioritizing interventions in different areas of Nigeria.

New Insights Into Wealth Inequality Using DHS Wealth Index Data

DHS surveys include a wealth index, a composite measure calculated using easy-to-collect data on a household’s ownership of selected assets. The DHS wealth index categorizes households into five wealth quintiles. In Household Wealth Relative to Community Wealth: Associations with Specific Asset Ownership and Maternal and Child Health Indicators, researchers computed an additional measure of wealth inequality, calculating a mean wealth score for each sampling cluster. Each household was then categorized according to its wealth relative to the average wealth of the community.

In 9 of 10 countries, households that are poor relative to their communities were more likely to use at least one maternal health care (antenatal care and facility delivery) or vaccination service, suggesting that a household that is poor relative to the community is potentially better able to access the services of a relatively wealthy community. Read the analysis brief for this Analytical Study, a user-friendly summary of the methods, key findings, and relevant action steps. Analysis briefs are available for many recent analytical reports from The DHS Program.

New Analysis of DHS Contraceptive Calendar Data

A new web feature highlights a series of publications that put to new use retrospective, longitudinal data from DHS contraceptive calendars. Three working papers were recently published. In Fertility and Family Planning Characteristics of Contraceptive Clusters in Burundi researchers apply sequence and cluster analysis to identify six discrete clusters that characterize women’s dynamic contraceptive and pregnancy behaviors over the previous five years. Factors most consistently associated with cluster membership are the need for family planning, lifetime experience of contraceptive use, marital status, pregnancy experience, and age.

Additionally, two working papers, Associations between Women’s Current Contraceptive Method Decision Making and their Reproductive Calendar Histories in Burundi, and Attributes Associated with Women’s Contraceptive Profiles in Burundi: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Interactions with Media and Health Services, further explore two “Family Builder” clusters. Women from the Family Builder 1 cluster had higher relative risks of deciding jointly whether or not to use contraception with their partners or husbands than of not deciding about contraception. Moreover, both “Family Builder” clusters are characterized by the presence and differences in the timing of multiple pregnancies in their calendar histories. Women with high contraceptive knowledge, intentions to use contraception, and well-articulated family size ideals are characteristic of Family Builder 1, while low contraceptive knowledge, no use of contraception, and vague family size preferences are characteristic of Family Builder 2. These results can guide reproductive health programs as they target interventions to the unique subpopulations they seek to serve.

Find all recent analysis publications in our latest newsletter and on The DHS Program website.


Featured image © Jonathan Torgovnik, Getty Images, Images of Empowerment

18 Nov 2020

The DHS Program Geospatial Team Celebrates GIS Day

November 18, 2020, is GIS Day, a day to celebrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and their application to DHS data. This GIS Day, we highlight recent work from The DHS Program Geospatial team.

Highlighting Subnational Inequalities That May Hinder COVID-19 Mitigation

The Geospatial team produced a story map using DHS spatial data on handwashing and the average number of people per sleeping room in some countries in Africa and Asia to illuminate subnational variations and inform COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

Health Data Mapping Workshop Facilitated Virtually

In February 2020, The DHS Program released a call for applications for a Health Data Mapping regional workshop, to be held in Hyderabad, Telangana, India in May. When this workshop was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Geospatial team quickly pivoted and developed an online course with the same basic objectives. A new call for applications was launched targeting countries in East Africa. Of 175 applicants, 25 were selected according to established criteria, including 15 men and 10 women.

The redesigned course, a semi-synchronous workshop, was conducted from July to September and included self-paced eLearning and instructor-led virtual sessions. Each week, participants completed readings, videos, and assignments. Participants acquired knowledge on data cleaning, converting GPS data in Excel, and joining data in QGIS, an open-source GIS software package. For their capstone assignment, participants created and presented maps using data from DHS surveys.

The DHS Program periodically hosts virtual instructor-led courses like Health Data Mapping on The DHS Program Learning Hub. For future offerings of the Health Data Mapping and other courses, check The DHS Program website for calls for applications.

Two Spatial Analysis Reports Published

Predicting HIV/AIDS at Subnational Levels using DHS Covariates related to HIV uses GPS data collected in DHS surveys to produce spatially interpolated maps to predict indicator values at non-surveyed locations. This report produces fine spatial and lower level estimates of HIV prevalence for seven Global Fund-supported countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A multi-task Gaussian process is used to leverage HIV prevalence data collected in DHS surveys along with HIV-related indicators such as sexually transmitted infection (STI), condom use, and sex partners. The model produces estimates of HIV prevalence along with uncertainty at the second subnational administrative level (ADMIN 2) where health programs are designed and implemented. This geospatial modeling approach was first described in Interpolation of DHS Survey Data at Subnational Administrative Level 2, and summarized in a previous blog post.

Geospatial Covariates: Proxies for Mapping Urban-Related Indicators uses DHS data from three East African countries to explore what makes an enumeration area rural or urban. The DHS Program does not define urbanicity; countries determine official urban and rural classifications themselves. This can impair comparative analyses of the relationship between urbanicity and health outcomes. In this Spatial Analysis Report, researchers sought to determine if geospatial covariates of urbanicity, including intensity of nightlights and travel times to hospitals, can predict urban-correlated health and demographic indicators from DHS surveys.

Spatial Anonymization in Public-Use Household Survey Datasets

The DHS Program Geospatial team is responsible for displacing cluster location data for all DHS surveys to maintain the confidentiality of DHS survey respondents. This anonymized spatial data is publicly available on The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository to meet research needs. The DHS Program Geospatial team is collaborating with other institutions, such as the World Bank and the United Nations to develop a forthcoming set of guidelines on spatial anonymization of public use microdata.

28 Oct 2020

Adapting to the New Reality: Data Processing Goes Virtual

In March 2020, The DHS Program released a call for applications for the 2020 DHS Data Processing Procedures – Data Tabulation and Data Finalization (DPPII) workshop, to be held in Accra, Ghana in June. The DPPII workshop includes online pre-work and face-to-face instruction. DHS Program Data Processing staff members assist participants through one-on-one coaching, and participants gain proficiency through hands-on practice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this in-person workshop was canceled.

The DHS Program’s Data Processing team worked with the Capacity Strengthening team to adapt the DPPII workshop to an online course focused on data tabulation. The course was delivered on The DHS Program Learning Hub and included self-paced modules with readings, videos, and activities, as well as updated CSPro manuals. These up-to-date materials will be used in future data processing courses and workshops, plus trainings for new Data Processing staff at The DHS Program.

Blended learning journey of the virtual DPPII course

The restructured DPPII course is semi-synchronous, including eLearning modules and assignments that participants work through independently. The course also includes four virtual instructor-led sessions, in which participants and DHS Program facilitators login to the same virtual learning space to learn new content, watch presentations, ask and address questions, and receive feedback on assignments in real-time. For their capstone assignment, participants recreate a standard DHS table using CSPro by defining their own variables and data.

Staff from implementing agencies in countries with ongoing DHS surveys are targeted for participation in the DPPII workshop, as participants build competencies required to process DHS data and produce country-specific tables found in DHS final reports. For this first-ever virtual DPPII course, participants included five women and fourteen men from eight Anglophone countries which recently implemented a DHS survey: the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia.

What Participants Say

“I’m glad to have been part of this training. [It gave me a] better understanding of the use of DHS data, generation of DHS recode and tables. I hope to practice my new skills with the country-specific tables.”

“Attending training and combining with other duties from work was not helpful but I will take time and continue reading and finish all as they are clear and useful.”

Converting face-to-face workshops to virtual learning sessions comes with challenges. It can be difficult for participants to balance coursework with work and other responsibilities, which is not an issue with in-person residential workshops. Throughout the virtual DPPII training, it became clear that more one-on-one instruction time was needed. To address this, facilitators began holding optional office hours. These and other lessons learned about virtual facilitation will be applied to future online courses, remote technical assistance, and webinars.

Interested in learning more about capacity strengthening opportunities at The DHS Program? The DHS Program periodically makes Workshop and Training Announcements for upcoming training opportunities.


Featured image: © ST.art, stock.adobe.com

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
530 Gaither Road, Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20850
Tel: +1 (301) 407-6500 • Fax: +1 (301) 407-6501
dhsprogram.com

Anthropometry measurement (height and weight) is a core component of DHS surveys that is used to generate indicators on nutritional status. The Biomarker Questionnaire now includes questions on clothing and hairstyle interference on measurements for both women and children for improved interpretation.