11 Jun

New e-Learning Course: Measuring Malaria through Household Surveys

The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently reoriented their communication strategy around insecticide-treated nets or ITNs, moving from a focus on behavior change around ITN use to a focus on net care and repair to extend the life of existing ITNs. Why the change?

The 2013-14 DRC Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) showed that only 50% of the household population had slept under an ITN the night before the survey, an indicator they wanted to improve. But when they dove deeper into ITN use, interpreting it in the context of ITN access, a different picture emerged. The survey also found that 47% of the population had access to an ITN. Interpreting these two indicators together, the NMCP redefined their strategy with the understanding that people were using the ITNs they had, and since use was higher than access, more than two people were using each net. In this context, the behavior change messages needed to be targeted toward helping people extend the life of their ITNs.

This kind of data use is only successful when decision makers understand the indicators that are informing their policies and programs. Our new course on K4Health’s Global Health eLearning (GHeL) Center, Measuring Malaria through Household Surveys, dives into the major malaria indicators, guiding learners through the process of collecting and calculating these indicators and through considerations for their interpretation.

Click here to take the course

The DHS Program has continuously sought to develop tools and curricula to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to use survey data. From the survey report and dataset to STATcompiler and the mobile app, from tutorial videos to the user forum, and from one-day Data to Action workshops to advanced data analysis workshops, we are always innovating to meet users’ needs.

Last year, The DHS Program developed a Malaria Indicator Trends workshop curriculum to increase the capacity of data users from National Malaria Control Programs to utilize DHS/MIS data to answer key programmatic questions and to accurately interpret trends in malaria indicators. The workshop targets users who needed more information that could be provided in a one-day dissemination workshop but does not have the skills (or need) to analyze with STATA. It was immediately clear that this workshop, which dives into each of the recommended indicators, their calculation, their limitations, and considerations for their interpretation, was meeting a need for data users. The next step to increase the well-informed use of these important indicators was to expand the reach of this curriculum through an online course on the Global Health eLearning Center platform.

This free course targets professionals (both generalist staff working on malaria as well as those with programmatic expertise in malaria) from donor agencies, ministries of health, and implementing and collaborating agencies. It takes 2-3 hours to complete and can be taken as a part of the Monitoring & Evaluation or Infectious Diseases certificates offered through the GHeL center.

When the indicators from household surveys are better understood, better programmatic decisions will be made.

Click here to take the course

© 2016 Sarah Hoibak/VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare

05 Jun

Confused about Maternal & Pregnancy-Related Mortality? Our New Video Series Explains All

Did you know The DHS Program has made changes to the collection, calculation, and terminology used for maternal and pregnancy-related mortality data? Our new three-part video series based on our blog post addressing changes to the DHS-7 questionnaire breaks down everything you need to know.

The first video in the series, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) Indicator Snapshot, is our newest Indicator Snapshot. Based on the recently revised MMR definition, this video covers important things to know, why maternal mortality matters, calculation, where to find it in DHS reports, and how to use MMR in a sentence.

The second video details the differences between The DHS Program’s definitions of maternal and pregnancy-related mortality, as well as how our definitions compare to WHO’s definitions.

The DHS Program estimates of pregnancy-related mortality ratios (PRMR) have limitations which can make interpretation difficult. The final video in the series discusses how to interpret trends in PRMR, as well as other DHS survey indicators which may be more useful to program managers and policymakers.

You can find these videos and other resources on the Maternal Mortality page of our website. Did you find these video helpful? Need more guidance? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo credit: © UNICEF Burundi/Colfs

23 May

Inside The DHS Program: Q&A with Dr. Sunita Kishor

Name: Dr. Sunita Kishor

Position title: Director, The DHS Program

What is your role at The DHS Program? To lead, inspire, foster innovation, nurture staff, solve problems, and celebrate successes

When did you start at The DHS Program?  October 1993. Yup—just a few months shy of my 25th anniversary!

Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi

Favorite DHS cover: Not a cover of a country report, but of the 2004 study “Profiling Domestic Violence: A Multi-country Study” in the DHS Occasional Paper series. Why is this my favorite cover? Because it uses no words, and yet speaks so very loudly about the silence that surrounds the scourge that is domestic violence.

What work are you most proud of?  The inclusion of gender issues into the DHS survey, of course! I sometimes wonder if the SDGs would have been able to include and monitor goals related to women’s empowerment and gender-based violence if The DHS Program had not been consistently collecting these data and making the data widely available for monitoring and analysis.

What’s your most memorable trip to date? Any specific memory?  Not just one trip, but the trips I made as part of field monitoring for the 1998-99 India NFHS-2 fieldwork. These trips into the many hearts of India—way outside the comfort of the urban, elite bubble of New Delhi where I grew up—opened my eyes to the real, multidimensional India. I met women whose life experiences made me proud to be a woman and humbled me too, especially when I looked at my life through their eyes.

One event that showed me what son-preference really looks like in real life was when a grandmother in an NFHS sample household in remote rural Madhya Pradesh asked me to take away her baby granddaughter, barely a month old. In no uncertain terms, she told me that the girl child was unwanted and I could have her. It was only the intervention of her son that prevented the woman from forcing the baby into my hands.

What developments in data collection or global health are you excited about right now? The continued improvements in technology that allow real-time tracking and monitoring of fieldwork and the advances in biomarker measurement are among the many data collection-related developments that excite me.

In the broader arena of global health and development, I am excited about The DHS Program continuing to provide high-quality, timely, and ethically collected data to ensure that the SDGs do indeed lead to greater accountability for meeting the aspirations of all people.

08 May

Reading DHS Tables in 4 Easy Steps

Statistical tables can look intimidating at first glance. That’s why we created this How to Read DHS Tables video tutorial using model datasets. Model datasets are created strictly for practice and do not represent any actual country’s data. Download the full model datasets report tables, and follow along on your own. At the end of the tutorial, we’ll have a few practice questions to test your knowledge.

In just 4 easy steps, you can read any table found in a number of DHS Final Reports. Once you’ve mastered reading DHS tables, test your knowledge with a quiz and comment below on how you did!

Test your knowledge!

Step 1: Read the title and subtitle. They tell you the topic and the specific population group being described.

Step 2: Scan the column headings. The column headings describe how the information is categorized.

Step 3: Scan the row headings. These are found in the first vertical column in the table. They show the different ways the data are divided into categories based on background characteristics.

Step 4: Find the overall percentages. The totals can be found in the row at the bottom of the table.

Think you’re ready to read DHS Final Report tables? Try these practice questions, and comment below on how you did!

Test your knowledge!

If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to The DHS Program newsletter for updates on our digital tools, surveys, and more!

25 Apr

DHS at PAA 2018

It’s that time of the year again and the Population Association of America (PAA) Annual Meeting 2018 is now in session! PAA is a non-profit, scientific, professional organization that promotes research on population issues. The annual meeting gathers over 2,200 demographers from around the world for a 3-day program covering topics around population, fertility, youth, and more. This year’s meeting is in Denver, Colorado.

The DHS Program participates every year by showcasing our work through oral presentations, posters, and an exhibition booth. We’re excited to be part of this program again and to meet all our current and new DHS data users.

The DHS Program staff will be presenting several oral presentations and posters. You can view or download a flyer of all DHS presentations, booth information, and recent publications.

Download the DHS at PAA 2018 Flyer

Visit booth #211 located in the Plaza Exhibit Hall on the Concourse Level for free publications, tours of our web and mobile tools, and access to DHS experts. If you can’t make it to PAA this year, follow along as we tweet from @DHSProgram and you can still join the conversation at #PAA2018.

Leave us a comment below if you will be attending and we hope to see you all there! Visit our website for more information about upcoming surveys, publications, and other announcements!

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19 Apr

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Burundi

In December 2017 The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Burundi. This post is one in a series of interviews with DHS headquarters. Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page.

Name:  Jean Marie Nkeshimana (Chef de Service, Institut de Statistiques et d’Études Économiques  du Burundi (ISTEEBU)), Hermengilde (Hermès) Mbonicuye (ISTEEBU), Nicolas Ndayishimiye (Directeur Général, ISTEEBU), Félicien Ndayizeye (Ministère de la Sante/ Programme National de la Lutte contre le Paludisme), Jeanine Niyukuri (Directrice du Département, ISTEEBU)

Quand vous ne travaillez pas, quel est l’endroit où vous préférez aller ?

Hermès: Faire du sport

Félicien: La plage

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

Jeanine: J’ai été aggreablement surpris de retrouver les données pour presque tous les pays. En plus même les donnes très anciennes s’y retrouvent.

Nicolas: J’ai travaillé pour la 1ère fois sur le données de The DHS Program avec la deuxième Enquêté Démographique et de Santé du Burundi de 2010.

Félicien: J’étais membre du comité technique de l’Enquête sur les Indicateurs du Paludisme au Burundi de 2012.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a le plus agréablement surpris lors de votre séjour à The DHS Program ?

Hermès: La générosité l’accueil du personnel spécialisé

Jean Marie: C’est l’organisation officiel du travail ou chaque staff a sa tache précise et du la quelle il est spécial.

Qu’est-ce qui vous manque le plus quand vous êtes ici ?

Félicien: Mes enfants

Nicolas: L’encadrement après le boulot

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

Jeanine: L’infrastructure

Nicolas: L’espace du travail

Quelle est votre page de couverture préférée pour les rapports des EDS ?

Nicolas: Les couleurs du drapeau de mon pays

Jean Marie: Celle du rapport pour le Burundi de 2010

Hermès: Vert citron

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi ?

Hermès: Violence basé sur le genre car à travers les résultats des tableaux, j’ai réellement découvert pris conscience que c’est réellement un vrai problème de société.

Nicolas: La mortalité des enfants car le gouvernement a instauré la gratuité de soins de santé pour les enfants, et je voudrais voir son impact.

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

Nicolas: La fécondité car elle influence le dividende démographique en vue d’impulser la croissance économique dans les pays en développement en générales et celle du continent africain en particulier.

Félicien: Le paludisme car c’est une endémie dans notre pays.

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

Hermès: J’espère que les autorités administratives, les plans d’actions des différents partenaires du Burundi se baserons sur les différents indicateurs pour trouver des solutions réalistes pour les différents problèmes ou défis que la société burundaise.

Jeanine: Utilisées par plus grand public et surtout servir de référence dans la prise de décision par les hautes autorités.


On April 5, 2018, the 2016-17 Burundi Demographic and Health Survey was released. Download the Final Report, Datasets, and more:

 

Photo caption: Second row (from left to right): Jean Marie Nkeshimana, Hermenegilde Mbonicuye, Nicolas Ndayishimiye, Felicien Ndayizeye, Elam Senkomo, Jose Miguel Guzman; in the front row: Jeanine Niyukuri, Yodit Bekele.

11 Apr

Learn how to Sample like a DHS Statistician

Many projects provide statistical training, but what makes The DHS Program’s capacity strengthening program unique is its ability to use state-of-the-art training approaches. Building on past workshops, eLearning tools, and well-received feedback, we are pleased to announce the release of a new DHS Survey Sampling eLearning course designed for broader public consumption.

In order to meet the overwhelming demand for sampling trainings, the first DHS Survey Sampling eLearning course was designed and conducted from June 19 to September 30, 2017, with a total of 32 participants from 16 countries completing the course. Participants were affiliated with various institutions such as National Statistics Offices, National Malaria Control Programs, National Center for HIV/AIDS Programs, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

Registration for the 2018 DHS Survey Sampling eLearning course is now open and applications will be accepted through April 20, 2018. This 8-week course begins May 1 and ends June 29, 2018. Prior knowledge of DHS surveys is beneficial, but not essential. However, all participants should have demonstrable basic statistical knowledge and computer skills in Excel prior to the training. Participants must be able to understand and communicate in English.

The eLearning course equips participants with the knowledge, tools, and abilities to design samples for population surveys, such as DHS surveys. While DHS surveys are the focus of the course, the acquired skills can also be used for other types of surveys. Participants can virtually participate in the course at their own pace within the 8-week timeframe from anywhere in the world.

The eLearning course also includes a discussion forum to promote participant interaction and peer-to-peer learning. Participants will share reflections on the learned course content and get feedback from facilitators. At the completion of the course, participants will still be able to access the course and resources at any time.

Apply for the 2018 DHS Survey Sampling eLearning course today!

Apply Now

Let us know if you have any questions about the eLearning course in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to The DHS Program newsletter for updates on our digital tools, surveys, and more!

Photo captions: Screenshots of the eLearning course


Written by: Abibata Handley &  Mahmoud Elkasabi

Ms. Handley has more than 17 years of experience in designing and implementing training and capacity-building activities to support programs providing assistance in less developed settings. She has extensive knowledge of adult learning theories, including participatory methods, and has planned and/or conducted training activities using eLearning and online tools. As the Capacity Building and Trainer Advisor at Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Ms. Handley was responsible for supporting the development and implementation of a comprehensive capacity-strengthening program for the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Health Services (SIAPS) program. Ms. Handley has experience in working on capacity strengthening and training programs in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. Ms. Handley has an M.A. in International Development and Intercultural Training.

Dr. Elkasabi is a Sampling Statistician at The DHS Program. He joined The DHS Program in 2013 after earning his Ph.D. in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, with a specialty in Survey Statistics and Sampling. Dr. Elkasabi is responsible for the sampling design for the DHS surveys as well as building sampling capacity in many countries, such as Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Malawi, Zambia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Dr. Elkasabi likes to work closely with the sampling statisticians in different countries. In these win-win relationships, he shares his knowledge in sampling and gains new knowledge & experiences.

28 Mar

New Data Available from DHS-7 Questionnaire: Malaria Indicators

This is Part 4 of the New Data Available from DHS-7 Questionnaire blog series that explores the new data that are available resulting from changes made to DHS-7 questionnaires. This post focuses on changes made to the questionnaire and tabulation of malaria indicators in both DHS and MIS surveys.

Part 4: Malaria

As more countries look toward malaria elimination, the malaria landscape and its measurement are rapidly changing. The DHS Program has adapted its questionnaire and tabulation of malaria indicators to keep up with these changes, which are outlined below.

Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS)

In early 2017, IRS questions were dropped from the household questionnaire.

Why? IRS is typically very focal and done in a small number of districts. National household surveys are not typically sampled to provide representative estimates at this scale. Thus, measures of national IRS coverage from household surveys may not be meaningful.

In the 2016 Liberia MIS, knowing that 1% of households were sprayed in the 12 months before the survey does not tell users about the coverage of the intervention in target areas. 

Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) vs. Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)

In the most recent questionnaire changes, The DHS Program dropped questions on retreatment of mosquito nets. As a result, tables on net ownership and use in the most recent tabulation plan only have one column for ITNs and do not include a separate column for LLINs. In other words, the ITN column represents nets that are treated with insecticide and no longer require retreatment. This definition is synonymous with LLIN.

The 2016 Uganda DHS and 2017 Malawi MIS are the first surveys to include this change.

Why? Bednets that require annual retreatment and the products used for retreatment are no longer distributed, so the distinction between ITNs and LLINs is no longer meaningful. Differences between values in the LLIN and ITN columns in current ITN tables are minor and likely due to misclassification.

Implications:  When looking at trends involving bednets, The DHS Program recommends comparing data from the ITN column over time rather than mixing and matching with the LLIN column from older surveys. Just keep in mind that the definition of ITNs in surveys released before 2018 included nets that had been retreated.

Intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp)

In the past, the table on “Use of IPTp by women during pregnancy” specified that the source of at least one of the doses of SP/Fansidar was an antenatal care visit. Moving forward, the source of IPTp is no longer specified. The question regarding the source of SP/Fansidar will remain in the questionnaire, but it will no longer be presented as part of the standard indicator.

Learn more in the 2016 Uganda DHS Final Report.

Why? The original language specifying the source of doses was added when IPTp was a new intervention and there was concern that women might report medication taken for treatment of malaria instead of malaria prevention. The intervention is now well known, and this specification is no longer necessary.

Implications:  Users should use caution when interpreting trends if the data are pulled directly from the table in the final report. However, the indicator measuring doses of SP/Fansidar regardless of the source can be calculated for past surveys in the datasets and is available in STATcompiler.

To learn more, read the full blog series, download the DHS-7 model questionnaires, or visit the Malaria Surveys website.

What do you think of this change? Let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to subscribe to The DHS Program newsletter for more updates on our digital tools, surveys, and more.

© 2016 Sarah Hoibak, VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare

08 Mar

International Women’s Day through the lens of the India National Family Health Survey

For over 20 years, The DHS Program has collected information related to women’s empowerment, experience of spousal violence, women’s participation in decision making, and, more recently, women’s access to money and credit.

International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the progress women have made based on one of our most highly anticipated surveys. The 2015-16 India National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) comes 10 years after the previous 2005-06 India NFHS-3. Since then, early marriage (before the legal age) has become less common, more married women age 15-49 are participating in all 3 household decisions, and fewer men agree that wife beating is justified. Fertility is also approaching replacement level with women in India having an average of 2.2 children, down from 2.7 children per woman in 2005-06.

But there is still room for improvement. Less than one-third (31%) of married women age 15-49 in India are employed compared with 98% of men. 1 in 4 ever-married women have experienced spousal violence in the past 12 months and this proportion has remained unchanged in the last decade. Only 14% of women who have ever experienced violence have sought help to end the violence.

And for the first time, NFHS-4 provides district-level estimates for most indicators. Discover more in the 2005-16 NFHS-4 State Reports.

You can still get involved on International Women’s Day by sharing this infographic on women’s empowerment in India on Facebook. Compare other women’s empowerment indicators across over 90 countries using this easy-to-use mini-tool and even more on STATcompiler.

Download the 2015-16 India National Family Health Survey dataset here.

Photo Credit: © 2014 Prasanta Biswas, Courtesy of Photoshare

28 Feb

DHS Data in the News

Journalists worldwide use DHS, MIS, and SPA surveys as source data for essential stories – stories about domestic violence, HIV prevention, and child survival. Coverage of these topics brings awareness to these critical issues and often prompts policy change.

In any given month, DHS Program data are cited in hundreds of print, television, radio, and digital media across the world. While we can’t possibly review and share every example of accurate DHS data coverage in the news, we do highlight some of the best examples in The DHS Program’s News Room. The results from India’s 2015-16 National Family Health Survey have been featured in India’s biggest newspapers, and topics range from anemia prevalence to child marriage. A recent article from the Midrand Report in South Africa cites condom use data from the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey as an argument for voluntary male circumcision, and a Ghana News Agency article highlights adolescents’ needs for reproductive health services.

Using data from a reputable source like a DHS survey adds credibility and context to journalistic reporting. But covering topics such as mortality, fertility, and disease prevalence is not simple, and journalists often struggle to interpret DHS survey results and write about demographic and health data in language that is accessible for their audiences. Following a survey’s national release, The DHS Program’s dissemination team facilitates a workshop to educate journalists on reading and understanding DHS tables, accessing comparable data, and using data in reporting. Learn more about these media trainings in this reflections piece on a Journalist Workshop in Togo.

The DHS Program also has user-friendly tools, such as STATcompiler and the mobile app that allow journalists to verify the accuracy of DHS data used in their reporting. In addition to featuring news that accurately cites DHS data, we have a Journalists’ Guide to the Demographic and Health Surveys, available in both English and French. This guide provides tips on how journalists can properly use DHS data in their stories.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email press@dhsprogram.com to share your accurate news story with DHS data for a chance to be featured in The DHS Program’s News Room.

Photo credits: 1) Officials from the Ethiopia Ministry of Health and Central Statistics Agency answer questions at the 2016 Ethiopia DHS National Seminar press conference; 2) Dr. Thet Thet Mu of the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports responds to questions from the press at the launch of the 2015-16 Myanmar DHS. © 2017 ICF

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.

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