26 Dec 2018

35 Years of DHS…and 5 More to Come

What was happening in the world in 1984?

  • The AIDS virus was identified
  • Indira Gandhi was assassinated
  • Michael Jackson moonwalked and won awards for his “Thriller” album
  • Apple released the first MacIntosh computer
  • Famine in Ethiopia sparked worldwide attention


A lot has changed in 35 years in the world and at the DHS project; what has not changed is that The DHS Program at ICF remains USAID’s flagship project for collecting data on population and health around the world. In September 2018, USAID awarded ICF and partners the 8th iteration of The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, which will run from 2018-2023.  Six internationally experienced organizations are partnering with ICF to expand access to and use of the DHS data including Avenir Health, Blue Raster, EnCompass, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, PATH, and Vysnova.

DHS-8 will build on the long history of DHS surveys, focusing on the collection of quality population and health data in approximately 50 countries while helping to strengthen the capacity of local implementing agencies to conduct population-based surveys.  DHS-8 also offers several enhancements, including a new Science Advisor position, who will focus on innovations in data collection and biomarkers (stay tuned for a new blog series on innovation!), an expanded virtual learning portfolio, and additional emphasis on sub-national dissemination to support evidence-based decision making.

“We are honored and eager to continue The Demographic and Health Surveys Program,” says Project Director, Dr. Sunita Kishor.  “Our staff are incredibly proud of the work we do, and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to evolve by pursuing even greater data quality, new innovations, and deepening relationships with our valued colleagues across the globe.”

18 Dec 2018

Thermal Care and Umbilical Cord Care Practices and Their Associations with Newborn Mortality

The global public health agenda spotlight is increasingly focused on reducing preventable newborn deaths. Skilled care at birth and delivery in a health facility equipped with life-saving medical technologies is a clear path to prevention. However, many women continue to deliver at home, impeded by lack of access to a health facility, concerns of sub-par quality at nearby facilities, or financial constraints where healthcare is not well subsidized.

Steps can be taken immediately after birth that may improve the chance of newborn survival and can be applied with nominal costs. Keeping infants warm—thermal care—and preventing infection where the umbilical cord was cut—hygienic cord care—are two key practices.

The DHS Program undertook efforts in 2014 in order to improve the assessment of newborn care practices. They worked with the recommendations from the Newborn Care Technical Working Group to:

  1. Develop an optional Supplemental Module on Maternal Health Care with a standardized set of questions assessing newborn care. This module collects information on drying, bathing, cord cutting, and cord care including the application of chlorhexidine.
  2. Add questions to the DHS-7 core questionnaire regarding care at the time of birth, pre and post-discharge contacts for mothers and newborns, the content of postnatal care for newborns, and other essential newborn care practices (immediate skin-to-skin, early initiation of breastfeeding).

Questions related to thermal care and cord care have been included in some DHS surveys since 2003, a total of 16 surveys conducted between 2003-2016 in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Timor Leste.

A Journal of Global Health Collection on Measuring Coverage of Essential Maternal and Newborn Care Interventions: An Unfinished Agenda issued a call for action to use these data to track progress over time and make comparisons between countries in order to assess whether newborns are receiving life–saving interventions, prompting The DHS Program to conduct further analyses.

This recent DHS Analytical Study (68) sought to explore three things: 1) what’s been happening with these practices over time; 2) is there an association between these practices and newborn deaths among home births; and 3) what factors predict these practices among home births?  The analysis includes an in-depth exploration of newborn care in three South Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.

Key Findings

  • In countries with more than one survey available, coverage of recommended thermal care and hygienic cord care practices increased over time, with more frequent application among facility births than home births.
  • Among home births in South Asia, skilled care during pregnancy and birth increased the odds of receiving the recommended practices.
  • In Bangladesh and Nepal, application of an antiseptic (chlorhexidine or an unspecified antibiotic or antiseptic) to the cord was highly protective against newborn mortality compared with dry cord care.
  • Among newborns who died, there was a high proportion of missing responses regarding recommended behaviors.

These findings highlight the importance of cord care in preventing newborn mortality as well as the importance of skilled care during pregnancy and birth for the implementation of recommended practices. Although thermal care did not predict newborn survival, sample size and missing cases limited the analyses. The findings also suggest that the recall or reporting of details around the traumatic event of newborn death may be incomplete.

While the analysis could not control for all potential cofactors of newborn mortality and receipt of care, this report provides additional insight on important predictors of these outcomes in several countries, including mothers’ education, household wealth, and maternal age as well as the sex of the baby.

Photo Caption: © 2011 Faisal Azim, Courtesy of Photoshare

Written by Jennifer Yourkavitch and Lindsay Mallick

Jennifer Yourkavitch, MPH, PhD, IBCLC is an epidemiologist whose research and program work focuses on documenting and addressing determinants of health, particularly in relation to lactation and breastfeeding practices; maternal and child health and nutrition; HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases; gender; equity; health systems; and, service delivery around the world. In her 14 years with ICF, Dr. Yourkavitch has helped various clients to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate health programs, including WHO, USAID, PMI, CDC, and dozens of NGOs. She conducts population health research with the Demographic and Health Surveys Program and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Greensboro.

Lindsay Mallick joined The DHS Program via Avenir Health in 2014. As a Senior Research Associate for The DHS Program’s Analysis team, she conducts research using data from both DHS and SPA surveys on health services and outcomes related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. She has an MPH in International Health and Development from Tulane University and served in the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa. Prior to joining The DHS Program, Ms. Mallick fulfilled two consecutive fellowship roles as an epidemiologist for the US Air Force and then the US Army.

03 Dec 2018

16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence

We are halfway through the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, but there is still time to get involved. The DHS Program has a variety of resources to help you learn about the prevalence of violence against women around the world.

Since 2000, The DHS Program has collected domestic violence data in more than 50 countries. Explore the domestic violence results in five recently released Demographic and Health Surveys from the Philippines, Senegal, Haiti, Timor-Leste, and Uganda in a new infographic developed for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.

Share our infographic using the links below.  

Share the #16days infographic on Facebook

Tweet the #16days infographic

Additionally, try our easy-to-use mini tool to compare indicators of gender inequality, women’s empowerment, gender norms, and more. For even more domestic violence data, you can visualize these indicators by background characteristics, over time, and across countries using STATcompiler

Photo credit: © 2004 Syed Ziaul Habib Roobon, Courtesy of Photoshare


13 Nov 2018

Reflections from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program: Afghanistan

The 2019 DHS Fellows Program is currently accepting applications from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Learn more from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program Afghanistan team as they reflect on their experience with the program and apply to join us for the global DHS Fellows Program in 2019. Deadline to apply is November 19th.

Apply for the 2019 DHS Fellows Program

I am Ajmal Behzad, an assistant lecturer at the Department of Behavioral Science, faculty of Public Health, Kabul University of Medical Sciences (KUMS) in Afghanistan.

I was privileged to be one of three participants of the 2018 DHS Fellows Program alongside my two colleagues, Ajmal Sabawoon and Idris Anwar from the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. Initially, I was informed about The DHS Program’s capacity building fellowship for university lecturers through the USAID website in September 2016. Before that, I was only aware of DHS surveys through the first-ever Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Afghanistan.

When I saw the opportunity that The DHS Program provides for the university lecturers to use their own country data, I was very interested to be one of the participants. I told my two faculty colleagues about the Fellows program and both were interested. I began studying more about DHS surveys in other countries and what information the surveys collect. Unfortunately, due to the competitiveness of the fellowship, we were not selected for the 2017 Fellows Program. However, when the call for application for the 2018 Fellows Program was announced, we had a critical review of our proposal and our team was selected with five other teams from Myanmar, Nepal, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

As my colleague Idris Anwar, a lecturer in the Public Health Department and the head of the Public Health Masters program, described:

“Being part of the 2018 DHS Fellows Program was an amazing experience and to be honest, the first-ever practical work on a secondary statistical research that we received. I have been learning a lot on secondary analysis of data and this gives me more experience on guiding my bachelor and other public health masters degree students to use and analyze secondary data analysis. I am very thankful to ICF and The DHS Program.”

Ajmal Sabawoon, a lecturer and Dean of Public Health faculty, stated:

“I have not found any program to be more useful in writing and conducting secondary data analysis. The step-by-step guide of our lecturers in the DHS Fellows Program and the effective comments of research reviewers were so amazing that it led me to become one of the critical reviewers of research proposals at the board of research at the Kabul University of Medical Science. The program is one of the best practical guide programs for statistical secondary analysis of DHS data. I am happy to be one of the participants who received the training as the first Afghanistan team.”

For myself, I found that the experiences of using data from DHS and data analysis by the lecturers have been great. The DHS Fellows Program was well managed and it helped us build on our knowledge of research. I strongly support other lecturers of KUMS to attend the next DHS Fellows Program and would like to be in touch with the team way in the future.

Thank you all for the support.

Click below to apply on The DHS Program website. Leave any questions or comments below and let us know if you applied!

Apply for the 2019 DHS Fellows Program today!

Written by: Ajmal Behzad

Ajmal Behzad is a medical doctor and assistant lecturer at the Department of Behavioral Science, Faculty of Public Health, Kabul University of Medical Sciences (KUMS), Afghanistan.

07 Nov 2018

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Senegal

In July 2018, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Senegal who came to the office to finalize the reports for the 2017 Continuous Survey (Continuous DHS (EDS-C) and Continuous SPA (ECPSS)).

Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!

Nom, titre et organisation : Samba NDIAYE, Chef de Division du Recensement et des Statistiques Démographiques (DRSD) de l’Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD) ; Papa Ibrahim Sylmang SENE, Directeur des Statistiques Démographiques et Sociales, ANSD ; Papa Mabeye DIOP, ANSD ; Ibou GUISSE, Médecin, ANSD ; Awa Cissoko FAYE, Chef de Bureau Conception et Méthodes d’Analyses Sociodémographiques, ANSD

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

NDIAYE : Le dispositif organisationnel et la répartition des fonctions.

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

GUISSE : Ma famille, les plats sénégalais, le téléphone.

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré de l’EDS-C ou l’ECPSS, et pourquoi ? 

FAYE : La mortalité maternelle car elle est collectée tous les cinq ans  dans l’EDS, c’est-à-dire très attendue par le Ministère de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale.

GUISSE : La planification familiale (PF), car depuis le début de l’EDS en 2012 on constate une nette amélioration des indicateurs de la PF (taux de prévalence  contraceptive et disponibilité des produits).

L’équipe sénégaglais partage l’expérience de l’Enquête Continue avec The DHS Program.

Comment espérez-vous que les données de l’Enquête Continue soient utilisées ?

SENE : Pour le renseignement des documents de suivi et évaluation des programmes nationaux et régionaux, pour l’élaboration des lettres des politiques sectorielles, pour la recherche (état, privé et université, etc.), pour la planification des projets et programmes.

GUISSE : Les données de l’EDS doivent être utilisées à des fins de planification (aider à la prise de décision). Mais pour cela, il faudra faire beaucoup d’efforts dans la dissémination et essayer de sortir les résultats un peu plutôt avant la planification des utilisateurs.

Sénégal va bientôt terminer son projet pilote d’implémenter une Enquête Continue qui fournit des données annuelles au cours d’une période de 5 ans. Pour vous, quel est le plus grand succès ce modèle ?

DIOP : La capacité de réaliser et d’enquêter toutes les années en respectant la publication annuelle.

NDIAYE : La prise en compte des besoins spécifiques des programmes, la production continue d’indicateur clés sur la planification familiale, le renforcement des capacités dans tout le processus.

Quel est le défi le plus grand que votre agence a surmonté lors de l’Enquête Continue ?

SENE : 1) Le défi technique ; 2) Le défi du financement ; 3) Le défi de l’appropriation par les ministères cibles comme la santé, la famille etc. ; 4) Assurer la transition vers la pérennisation, l’enquête qui est en cours en 2018.

FAYE : L’autonomie dans la réalisation de l’Enquête Continue

Quelles sont d’autres leçons apprises ou pensées que vous aimeriez partager ?

GUISSE : Travail en équipe (surtout avec d’autres personnes de culture différente), gestion des ressources surtout humaines ; la négociation avec les responsables de structures surtout privées pour faire accepter le SPA (l’ECPSS).

SENE : 1) Un excellent encadrement d’ICF dans toutes les phases du début à la fin ; 2) Un excellent programme de renforcement des capacités de l’équipe technique de l’ANSD et des utilisateurs (Ministères santé, famille, économie, etc.)


Les données de l’Enquête Continue 2017 ont été restituées le 27 septembre 2018. Téléchargez les rapports finaux ici.

Légende de la photo: De gauche à droite : Peter Aka, Mamadou Diallo, Michelle Winner, Awa Cissoko Faye, Metahan Traoré, Ibou Guissé, Papa Ibrahim Sylmang Sene, Papa Mabèye Diop, Abibahata Handley, Annē Linn, Samba Ndiaye, Jose Miguel Guzman

29 Oct 2018

Reflections from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program: Myanmar Team

We are pleased to announce that the 2019 DHS Fellows Program is currently accepting applications from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Learn more from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program Myanmar team as they reflect on their experience with the program and apply to join us for the global DHS Fellows Program in 2019.

Apply for the 2019 DHS Fellows Program

We are a three-member team from the University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar accepted into the 2018 Myanmar DHS Fellows Program.

Through the program, we learned that The DHS Program provides scientifically sound, affluent, and nationally representative data. DHS data are great additions to the limited data sources in Myanmar. Therefore, it is important that Myanmar researchers use these data effectively. In addition to the survey data, The DHS Program also provides reports and web tools (e.g. STATcompiler) that are useful for teaching, presentations, and writing papers. The program also provided us with a better understanding of DHS data, how to use data, select data, and analysis methods with STATA. The process of producing the working paper and preparing it for a peer-reviewed journal was also a reinforcing, challenging, and motivating task for us. We are grateful to the facilitators, Dr. Wenjuan Wang and Dr. Shireen Assaf, and other DHS experts for reviewing, commenting and editing our paper and we have submitted our article to the PLoS One journal for review. Overall, we had great experiences to share:

“I have some experiences of secondary data analysis using large datasets so, I thought that data analysis using DHS data might be easy for me but, it was quite challenging to understand DHS data structure, sampling and weighting procedure and, survey data analysis using STATA. The Fellows Program greatly improved our data management and analytical skills. I now realize the DHS data’s quality, validity, and usefulness and I am using DHS resources to teach my masters students.”

– Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya

“When I attended a Ph.D. program in Mahidol University (Thailand), many international post-graduate students used their country DHS data for their master thesis. At that time, Myanmar students faced a lot of difficulties with data collection. I am very glad that Myanmar has our own DHS data as a resource. In the past, due to inadequate resources (money, time and data), Myanmar researchers had few published articles. In the future, by analyzing DHS data, not only for students but also faculty members, researchers and government officials can produce many articles which will benefit the country.”

– Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw

“I have never used STATA software or secondary data analysis before the program. But after the training, the experience of using STATA and secondary data analysis was very advanced and not inferior to primary data. The program is practical for the use of data accompanied by paper writing and output. I plan to do further paper writing using DHS data.”

– Dr. Thandar Tun

After the program, we successfully conducted a capacity-building program, “Use of DHS data in STATA,” at our University to share our knowledge with 40 faculty staff from four medical universities and taught them how to use DHS data. As a result, lecturers from different medical universities, researchers and public health professionals are eager to generate articles using DHS data. Moreover, they committed to using the information accessible from valuable DHS resources such as DHS working papers, published articles, and STATcompiler.

DHS Myanmar Fellows held a data use workshop for over 40 participants, including university faculty, graduate students, and non-governmental organization staff.

In addition to completing our working paper, we conducted a dissemination seminar at our University to share the findings with a wide range of academic audiences including persons from the Ministry of Health and Sports. Stakeholders discussed research findings and expressed interest in using these findings in the future program and policy development. We took the opportunity to recommend the use of DHS data and encourage our colleagues to apply for the upcoming DHS Fellows Program.

We want to thank the DHS Fellows Program not only for giving us opportunities to learn about DHS data but also to establish international collaborative research network with teams from different countries. The DHS Fellows Program is one of the most outstanding, well-organized, effective, productive and useful programs in the world.

Click below to apply on The DHS Program website. Leave any questions or comments below and let us know if you applied!

Apply for the 2019 DHS Fellows Program today!

Written by: Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya, Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw, & Dr. Thandar Tun

Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya is a Biostatistician. He is an Associate Professor and Head of Department of Biostatistics and Medical Demography, University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. He holds a masters degree of Public Health in Biostatistics. His research interests are Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition and Non-communicable diseases.

Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw holds a Ph.D. in Demography. He is a faculty member of the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Demography of University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. His research interests include HIV and migration.


Dr. Thandar Tun holds a masters degree in Public Health. She is a faculty member of Population and Family Health, University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. Her research interests are Health equity, Health policy and management, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Maternal Health.

16 Oct 2018

In Memory of Bernard Barrère

Click here for a French translation

A life of service to global health, data, and cross-cultural collaboration

On October 14th 2018, Bernard Barrère, Deputy Director of The DHS Program, passed away from complications of esophageal cancer. Bernard served The DHS Program for 29 years in various capacities. He will be remembered as a pillar of the Demographic and Health Surveys, and as a survey expert with an incomparable work ethic and a huge and gentle heart.

Bernard earned degrees in Sociology, Demography, and International Development from the University of Toulouse in the 1970s. Bernard then moved to Cote d’Ivoire where he spent most of the 1980s teaching demography to undergraduates at the School of Medicine of the University of Abidjan. It was in Cote d’Ivoire that Bernard was first involved in large household surveys. He participated in the design of the World Fertility Survey (WFS, the predecessor of the DHS) and then supervised the implementation of the WFS in Cote d’Ivoire.

Bernard joined the DHS team in Maryland in 1989 as a Senior Demographic Expert, managing surveys in West Africa. His expertise and influence grew as he took on the position of HIV Coordinator, leading the DHS through the development of the AIDS Indicator Survey and the innovative process of collecting blood spots for HIV prevalence testing in DHS and AIS surveys. In 2012, Bernard became Deputy Director of The DHS Program, overseeing the design and implementation of more than 60 surveys every 5 years.

Over the course of almost 30 years, Bernard has been a mentor and friend to countless colleagues at The DHS Program offices and far beyond and was especially well known in virtually every francophone low- and middle-income country in Central and West Africa and around the world. He had deep relationships with data and development experts at USAID, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS, and the World Bank. He spent countless months providing technical assistance to surveys in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Director of The DHS Program, Sunita Kishor summarizes:

“To say that Bernard will be missed underestimates how central Bernard’s contributions to The DHS Program have been. The DHS Program is committed to carrying forth the legacy that Bernard helped build. We can fill his position, but we cannot hope to ever replace him.”

Bernard returned home to France annually to enjoy friends, family, French culture, food, and wine. He is survived by his wife Monique and his son Maxime.

Colleagues and friends worldwide are invited to share memories with The DHS Program and Bernard’s family through the email address: inmemory@dhsprogram.com.

Une vie au service de la santé globale, des données et de la collaboration interculturelle

Le 14 octobre 2018, Bernard Barrère, le directeur adjoint du DHS Program, est décédé suite à des complications d’un cancer de l’œsophage. Bernard a occupé, pendant 29 ans, un nombre varié de rôles au sein du DHS Program. Nous nous souviendrons de lui comme un pilier des Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé, et aussi comme un expert en enquêtes ayant une éthique de travail incomparable et un cœur à la fois énorme et doux.

Bernard a fait ses études en Sociologie, Démographie et Développement International à l’Université de Toulouse dans les années 70. Après ses études, il déménagea à la Côte d’Ivoire, où il passa la majorité des années 80 à enseigner la démographie aux étudiants en licence à la Faculté de Médicine de l’Université d’Abidjan. C’est en Côte d’Ivoire que Bernard s’est impliqué pour la première fois dans les grandes enquêtes auprès des ménages. Il participa à la conception de l’Enquête Mondiale sur la Fécondité (EMF, le prédécesseur de l’EDS) et à ensuite a supervisé sa mise en œuvre

Bernard a rejoint l’équipe du DHS Program à Maryland en 1989 en tant qu’expert senior en démographie et responsable des enquêtes d’Afrique de l’ouest. Son expertise et son impact se sont accrus quand il a occupé le poste de Coordonnateur VIH. À ce poste, il a guidé The DHS Program dans le développement de l’Enquête sur les Indicateurs du Sida (EIS) et le processus innovateur de la collecte des échantillons de gouttes de sang séché pour mesurer la prévalence du VIH. En 2012, Bernard est devenu le directeur adjoint du DHS Program, responsable de la conception et la mise en œuvre de plus de 60 enquêtes tous les cinq ans.

Au cours des 30 dernières années, Bernard fut un parrain et un ami pour ses innombrables collègues à la fois dans le bureau du DHS Program et ailleurs. Il était particulièrement reconnu dans tous les pays francophones du monde où il a apporté son expertise. Il a noué des liens profonds avec les experts en données et en développement de l’USAID, l’UNICEF, l’OMS, l’UNAIDS et de la Banque Mondiale. Son assistance technique pour les enquêtes des pays de l’Afrique sub-saharienne, de l’Asie, du Moyen-Orient et de la Caraïbe, est inestimable.

La directrice du DHS Program, Sunita Kishor, a résumé notre perte en disant :

« Dire que Bernard nous manquera sous-estime le rôle central qu’il occupait au sein du DHS Program. Nous, du The DHS Program nous engageons à poursuivre l’héritage que Bernard a aidé à construire. Nous pouvons combler son poste, mais nous ne pourrons jamais le remplacer. »

Bernard aimait, chaque année, retourner en France pour y retrouver ses amis, sa famille, la culture, la nourriture et le bon vin français. Il laisse dans le deuil sa femme Monique et son fils Maxime.

Les collègues et amis partout dans le monde sont invités à partager leurs souvenirs avec The DHS Program et la famille de Bernard à l’adresse suivante : inmemory@dhsprogram.com.

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.  

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
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Tel: +1 (301) 407-6500 • Fax: +1 (301) 407-6501