25 Sep 2018

The New and Improved Guide to DHS Statistics

What is the Guide to DHS Statistics?

The purpose of the Guide to DHS Statistics is to provide transparent documentation to users to assist them in understanding DHS datasets and to enable them to reproduce the statistics in DHS reports. DHS surveys collect a wealth of information on a wide range of topics from a representative sample of the population in the countries that participate in The DHS Program. For each country, the information collected is processed, tabulated, and presented in a report that describes the living conditions and the demographic and health situation in the country.

Many of the procedures involved are straightforward and are familiar to demographic analysts. However, other procedures need special attention and have been developed based on experience accumulated over many years regarding the preferred way of calculating certain indicators, what to guard against, and what not to forget.

Who is the guide for?

The Guide to DHS Statistics is meant to be a tool for all data users: for those just starting out in data analysis and for those with advanced skills who need a tool for checking procedures. It is intended to serve as a reference document for those directly analyzing DHS data as well as for users who desire a deeper understanding of indicator definitions. The tool can help those who use DHS data to monitor and evaluate programs and assist in informed decision-making.

What’s new in this version of the guide?

The updated Guide to DHS Statistics serves as a replacement for the old tool, but also as an expansion. Though it provides the same basic indicator definitions and calculation information as the original tool for the indicators used in DHS-4, the new guide goes far beyond the original content by adding the many new indicators and topics that are now covered by the DHS-7 tabulation planNew features in the guide include variables, details of numerator and denominator calculations, discussions of changes over time, links to other relevant data use tools and resources, and links to API indicator data. Complex indicators include examples or figures to facilitate understanding. View an example of an indicator page here.

Where can you find the guide? What else can you expect?

The new guide was a team effort of many DHS Program staff members, and the result is a document that is available as a PDF and online as an interactive tool. In the near future, the guide will be expanded to include chapters on female genital cutting and fistula. The tool will be continuously updated as the DHS core questionnaires and tabulation plans change to ensure that data users always work with the most up-to-date reference guide to the universe of DHS data.

Online Guide to DHS Statistics

PDF Guide to DHS Statistics

21 Sep 2018

Global Goals Week 2018

This week marks the beginning of Global Goals Week, a week where the United Nations and partners come together to bring awareness to accelerate progress to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. The DHS Program collects data to calculate approximately 30 of the indicators supporting the SDGs. You can find the full list of DHS-related SDG indicators here.

The infographic below highlights three Global Goals using recent DHS data from Haiti, India, Timor-Leste, and Uganda:

Anyone can contribute to these goals by spreading the word. Share the infographic below, and don’t forget to stay connected by using #GlobalGoals throughout the week. Explore the indicators described in the infographic and more in one easy-to-read table using STATcompiler.

 

Click to share the infographic on Facebook
Click to retweet the infographic on Twitter

 

12 Sep 2018

Inside The DHS Program: Q&A with Erica Nybro

Name: Erica Nybro

Position title: Senior Advisor for Communication

What is your role at The DHS Program? I lead the communication and dissemination team at The DHS Program, supporting activities that make DHS data accessible and easy to use.

Languages spoken: English and French

Favorite DHS survey cover: Because the dissemination team uses the covers as the design inspiration for additional print materials and infographics, I prefer covers with strong colors and local art or repeating designs. The 2015-16 Tanzania DHS-MIS is a good recent example.

When did you start at The DHS Program? 2004. It was my first job after graduate school.

What has been the biggest change in The DHS Program during your time here? The range of assistance we provide has expanded dramatically. When I started in 2004, the dissemination team supported a national seminar by providing PowerPoints and a Key Findings report. Now we offer a suite of curricula to support data use, data visualization, and social media, we live-tweet survey results, and we train users to access data through STATcompiler and The DHS Program mobile app.

What work are you most proud of? I am very proud of The DHS Program’s ability to respond so quickly to emerging technology. Ten years ago no one had even considered that a mobile application would provide DHS data on smartphones, and last year more than 4,000 users downloaded The DHS Program mobile app. And since 2014, all DHS indicator-level data are available through The DHS Program API, allowing users to make their own apps and visualizations.


What’s your favorite trip to date? Any specific memory? 
In 2017, I was in Myanmar to help launch their first-ever Demographic and Health Survey. The pride and excitement they had to use nationally representative data for the first time was infectious.

Is there a country that you would like to visit that you haven’t been to? Many! India and Madagascar are on my DHS bucket list, while Iceland and Peru will hopefully be future vacation destinations.

What developments in data collection or global health, in general, are you excited about right now? I am a data visualization enthusiast, and never a day goes by that I don’t see a new dashboard, graph, or map illustrating global health data. I’m looking forward to seeing how The DHS Program can continue to visualize our data to maximize data use, increase global understanding, and generate interest and passion for population and health topics.  

28 Aug 2018

From the Field: 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey

When I arrive in the cluster, Joyce, the team supervisor, is assigning households to interviewers Mercy, Cybil, and Naa. They are seated outside a shop—tablets out to receive their assignments over Bluetooth—while in a nearby household, their colleague Vera interviews a respondent as part of the 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS). After Vera finishes with her interview, they will be moving onto the next cluster. Interviewers often make callbacks, setting up a time that is convenient for the respondent and returning to the household. They will be back here tomorrow.

We walk over to the household where Vera is conducting an interview. Vera asks the respondent if it’s okay for me to observe the interview, and she agrees. The respondent is making banku, stirring a steaming pot while she answers the questions. Her young son wanders in and out of the kitchen. When we get to the more sensitive questions in the questionnaire, Vera leans in, speaking softly to put the respondent at ease. At the end of the interview, Vera thanks her, and we head back to the car.

Mercy has the hand-drawn map of the next cluster; she studies it to find the landmarks that will help them identify the boundaries. After a brief car ride, we get out and walk, using the household listing map to make sure we are in the right place. Now I’m tagging along with Naa as she finds her first assigned household. She walks up, introduces herself and the survey, and asks for the head of household.

Naa and I visit three different households over the course of the afternoon. At one, the head of household calls her daughter on her mobile phone to ask her to come home and participate in the survey. The respondent arrives, and I’m in awe. I’m not sure I’d want to go to the trouble of cutting errands short to participate in a survey. It’s even more striking that this respondent is not unique in this regard; The DHS Program would not exist without all the respondents who generously agree to give us their time and attention.

I came to visit the team with Emmanuel, a member of the Ghana Statistical Service’s (GSS) Field Operations and Logistics Unit. As the afternoon comes to an end, he says he needs to head back to the GSS head office. As a man, he cannot observe individual interviews due to the sensitive nature of some of the questions, so he spent most of the afternoon by the car after checking in with Joyce and the interviewers and handing over additional paper questionnaires. The 2017 GMHS includes verbal autopsies – extensive questions about the circumstances of each death of a woman age 12-49 that took place in the past 5 years – and those interviews use paper questionnaires. In contrast, the household and woman’s questionnaires are completed using the tablets. Emmanuel and I head back, but the work continues into the evening for Joyce, Vera, Naa, Mercy, and Cybil.

To learn more about the 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey, watch the Key Findings video below:

Photo credit: © 2016 Sarah Hoibak VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare

07 Aug 2018

World Breastfeeding Week 2018

World Breastfeeding Week, held annually from August 1-7, is a week where over 180 countries come together to promote and support breastfeeding. And although World Breastfeeding Week 2018 has come to a close, you can still take part in advocating for breastfeeding and its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with DHS data:

  • Use STATcompiler to discover and share the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for children under 6 months.
  • Use STATcompiler to discover what percent of children age 6-9 months are breastfeeding and consuming complementary foods.
  • Share and retweet the new World Breastfeeding Week 2018 infographic using DHS data from 5 recently released Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).

The DHS Program has collected breastfeeding data for over 30 years and has more than 50 breastfeeding indicators available in 80+ countries on STATcompiler. Continue to share DHS data on breastfeeding and stay connected for updates and resources!

Photo Credit: © 2012 Javier Arcenillas, Courtesy of Photoshare

18 Jul 2018

Release of the 4th India National Family Health Survey

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2015-16 India National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) Final Report and State Reports. This nationally-representative survey was conducted in over 600,000 households and interviewed both women and men to collect information on population, health, and nutrition indicators. NFHS-4, for the first time, also includes measurements of blood pressure and random blood glucose, and provides district-level estimates for all 640 districts, in addition to national and state-level estimates for most important indicators.

Download the 2015-16 NFHS-4 Final Report

State Reports for all 29 states have been released and are now available for download. The complete list of State Reports is shown below.

2015-16 NFHS-4 State Reports

Andhra Pradesh Jharkhand Punjab
Arunachal Pradesh Karnataka Rajasthan
Assam Kerala Sikkim
Bihar Madhya Pradesh Tamil Nadu
Chhattisgarh Maharashtra Telangana
Goa Manipur Tripura
Gujarat Meghalaya Uttar Pradesh
Haryana Mizoram Uttarakhand
Himachal Pradesh Nagaland West Bengal
Jammu & Kashmir Odisha  

ⓒ 2015 Arvind Jodha, UNFPA, Courtesy of Photoshare

11 Jul 2018

World Population Day 2018

It’s that time of the year again, and we’re back with another World Population Day #PopPyramid Quiz! Population pyramids are great ways to visualize a country’s distribution of various age groups in a population by sex.

We also created an infographic with population pyramids from recent Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Scroll down below the quiz to use the infographic as a guide!

So if you think you’re ready to take on the 2018 #PopPyramid Quiz? Get started below!

Click here to open the quiz in a new window

Let us know how you did the comments below, and don’t forget to share the quiz to give others a chance to test their knowledge on population pyramids!

11 Jun 2018

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 2018

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 2018

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.

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