30 Oct 2014

A Perspective on the DHS Fellows Program from a 2013 Fellow

2013 DHS Fellows

2013 DHS Fellows

By Simon Peter Kibira

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



2015 DHS Fellows Program

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


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

24 Oct 2014

Introducing: Sampling & Weighting at DHS

In my travels as a DHS sampling statistician, I have met countless people who want to hear about the sampling techniques and procedures we use in DHS surveys. Recognizing this fact, we are working to incorporate more sampling-related capacity strengthening activities at The DHS Program. The feedback we get after these activities has only encouraged us to produce more learning tools highlighting basic sampling-related concepts and topics used in DHS surveys.

2012 Tajikistan DHS

2012 Tajikistan DHS

We created a 4-part video series (the next two will be coming within the year) designed to introduce DHS sampling concepts, two of which were launched around World Development Information Day. In the videos, we present the sampling design and procedures used in the 2012 Tajikistan DHS survey as an example of sampling procedures in DHS surveys.

The first video, Introduction to DHS Sampling Procedures, explains the basic concepts of sampling, introduces the stages of designing a sample in a DHS survey, and discusses the key factors to consider when calculating sample sizes for a DHS survey.

The second video, Introduction of Principles of DHS Sampling Weights, introduces the concept of weighting survey data.  You will understand the goals and the importance of weighting as well as the concepts of over- and under-sampling.

Both videos introduce you to the basic sampling definitions, concepts, and procedures followed in a standard DHS survey. If you are interested in more information about the sampling procedures in the DHS surveys, you can check out the DHS Sampling and Household Listing Manual. If you have more questions, check out the user forum!

What did you learn from the sampling & weighting videos? What would you like to explore further? Comment below!

14 Oct 2014

Reflections on the DHS Curriculum workshop in Malawi

DHS Curriculum Workshop participants after a successful training.

DHS Curriculum Workshop participants after a successful training

By James Kaphuka

In July, I facilitated my fourth DHS Curriculum workshop. It was also the second time I had trained graduate students from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College.

The DHS Curriculum Facilitator’s Guide is a comprehensive package of ready-made training materials about understanding and using Demographic and Health Survey reports.  The curriculum is designed for use in African universities and with public health program staff.  Over 25 hours of instruction are divided into eight stand-alone modules designed to be a course on its own or customized and integrated into existing curricula.

This particular workshop was a stand-alone course held in Zomba, Malawi, from 21- 25 July 2014. Participants were students at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, pursuing master’s degrees in Development Studies.

2010 Malawi DHS

2010 Malawi DHS

A majority of the participants did not know anything about Demographic and Health Surveys until this workshop—and most surprisingly, quite a few of them indicated that they had never seen the results of the 2010 Malawi DHS until they worked with it during the workshop. A majority of the participants struggled to understand Module 4, Conducting a DHS, especially Sessions 2 and 3, because of their background. Session 2 describes the sampling procedures used in the DHS, while Session 3 goes over the principles of Sampling Weights. However, the group showed great interest and everyone was very eager to learn more about DHS and enjoyed group work and exercises.  The group really enjoyed the Malaria Trivia Game (Module 7)!

Malaria trivia game

Malaria trivia game

After the workshop,  many participants expressed  that this course should be a must for all graduate students at Malawian universities because the course material is very helpful in their school work. A number of them have indicated that they will use DHS results in their project work or dissertation.  There is a great demand among the students, both undergraduate and graduate.

I am very passionate about my DHS survey work, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with DHS Program staff so that together we can help train (and mentor) as many undergraduate and graduate students using DHS in Malawian universities.

For more photos of the training, check out the Facebook album.

James Kaphuka is a survey specialist with more than 5 years of professional experience providing technical assistance in all phases of survey implementation, from questionnaire and training manual design to report writing and data dissemination. Kaphuka has been directly involved  (as a consultant) in the implementing and completing Demographic and Health surveys in Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, and Liberia. Kaphuka has a Master of Science degree in Demography and Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London and an MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics from the University of Manchester.

You can learn more about his work with The DHS Program here:


09 Oct 2014

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: DRC

Congolese visitors at DHS Headquarters

Congolese visitors at DHS Headquarters

In May 2014, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This post is one in a series of interviews with visitors to DHS headquarters. Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!

Nom : HABIMANA Joseph , KASHONGWE Newali Jean Paul, MAKAYA M Mbenza Simon, MUKUNDA Munandi Jeba, SEBINWA Jean François

Pays d’origine : République Démocratique du Congo

Titre et organisation :

HABIMANA : Coordinateur Médical EDS RDC II 2013, Chargé du Partenariat Externe au Ministère de la Santé Publique (12 Direction)

KASHONGWE : Coordonnateur Médical Adjoint EDS-RDC II Biologie Programme National de Lutte Contre le SIDA/RDC

MAKAYA : Consultant ICF International

MUKUNDA : Directeur Technique/ EDS RDC II


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

HABIMANA : Quand je ne travaille pas, soit je suis à la maison, soit que je vais voir mes nièces et leurs familles respectives. Mais pas souvent.

KASHONGWE : Au terrain de basketball, bibliothèque, cyber café

MAKAYA : Quand je ne travaille pas au bureau, je préfère aller à la campagne dans ma ferme

Chez vous, où a-t-on le plus de chances de vous trouver le samedi ?

HABIMANA : Le samedi et le dimanche il est plus facile de me trouver à la maison. Je me repose le weekend.

MAKAYA : C’est à la ferme qu’on a le plus de chance de me trouver le samedi

Racontez un peu de la première fois que vous avez travaillé sur des données du «The DHS Program»:

HABIMANA : Les données du programme DHS ont donné des résultats positifs et le DHS est un programme qui reflète la réalité du terrain.

KASHONGWE : C’est en 2007, dans la gestion des échantillons

SEBINWA : Avant mon recrutement j’ai étudié en profondeur le rapport du 1er EDS pour préparer mon interview

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

KASHONGWE : L’organisation, la disponibilité des collaborateurs, le calme dans le travail, l’accueil

MAKAYA : C’est  l’accueil cordial réservé à l’équipe lors de sa présentation de bureau en bureau au personnel du programme DHS

SEBINWA : La jovialité des personnes

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

MAKAYA : C’est la possibilité de se déplacer et de visiter la ville à souhait.

MUKUNDA : En général, tout va bien à part l’atmosphère familiale qui me manque après les heures de service.

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

KASHONGWE : La climatisation, plus confortable, c’est plus adapté au travail

SEBINWA : La fonctionnalité et le confort

2013-14 DRC DHS Final Report

2013-14 DRC DHS Final Report

Quelle est votre  page de couverture préférée ?

Tout le monde : Ma page de couverture préférée est l’okapi qui n’existe qu’en RDC

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi ? 

HABIMANA : Chapitre sur la nutrition sur lequel j’ai travaillé qui montre l’état chronique de la malnutrition des enfants en RDC.

KASHONGWE : Le VIH/Sida parce qu’il est précis et détaillé par province

MUKUNDA : Chapitre planification familiale car il vous permet de bien planifier les naissances

SEBINWA : La baisse de la mortalité infantile : l’indicateur est porteur d’espoir pour l’avenir

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

MAKAYA : Le problème de population qui m’intéresse le plus est celui relatif à l’urbanisation parce que une répartition spatiale de la population mal maitrisé est un frein important au développement.

MUKUNDA : Le problème de santé des enfants et de la mère car le développement du pays dépend de ressources humains qu’il regorge

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

HABIMANA : Nous espérons que le pays va sensibiliser les différents domaines traités par l’EDS, mobiliser les ressources et agir sur les points présentant les indicateurs faible et améliorer davantage tous les indicateurs positifs.

KASHONGWE : Par la dissémination, par les ateliers, des publications, leur utilisation dans recherches scientifiques

MUKUNDA : Après diffusion des résultats, ces données servent le gouvernement et les partenaires à revoir les projets et programmes de développement

SEBINWA : Compte tenu des attentes des acteurs, j’espère que les données seront exploitées au maximum

Qu’avez–vous appris en travaillant avec «The DHS Program »?

HABIMANA : Nous avons beaucoup appris sur l’EDS, l’élaboration des questionnaires qui ont touché presque tous les domaines de la santé et de la population, le traitement des données et l’interdépendance de tous ces éléments. Le DHS est une autre façon de connaitre le milieu dans lequel on vit.

KASHONGWE : Tous les aspects de planification, de formation, de rapports, d’estimation, de déploiement de matériel médical pour l’activité sur les biomarqueurs

MAKAYA : Tous les chiffres des rapports doivent être vérifiés.

MUKUNDA : Avec le programme DHS, j’ai appris beaucoup de choses notamment le renforcement des capacités dans la planification des enquêtes, de la collecte, traitement des données et la rédaction des rapports (préliminaire et final).

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

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.