29 Jun 2016

Strengthening Afghanistan’s Health Sector: Evidence from the 2015 Afghanistan DHS

Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz (left), Sayed Alam Shinwari, Micheal Kugelman, and Larry Sample at The Wilson Center's Event, "A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector"

Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz (left), Sayed Alam Shinwari, Michael Kugelman, and Larry Sampler at The Wilson Center’s Event, “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector”

Working in collaboration, two Afghan government organizations– the Central Statistics Organization and the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) – conducted Afghanistan’s first Demographic and Health Survey (AfDHS). “This in itself is an enormous milestone,” said Larry Sampler, Assistant to the Administrator for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at USAID during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center, “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector.” Sampler, joined by the Afghanistan Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz; Sayed Alam Shinwari, President of the Afghan Medical Professionals Association of America; and Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South Asia at The Wilson Center highlighted the implications of the Afghan government’s efforts to improve maternal and child health as demonstrated in the newly released 2015 AfDHS Key Indicators Report (KIR).

AfDHS-KIROf particular interest to both the MOPH and USAID, AfDHS results show progress in reducing childhood mortalityCurrently, about 1 in 20 children does not survive until their 5th birthday in Afghanistan. The majority of these childhood deaths occur during the first year of life. Compared to earlier time periods, both infant and under-five mortality have declined, suggesting that child health interventions are making a difference. Dr. Feroz explains, “The DHS survey shows that there is substantial improvement in maternal health and child health. This progress has been made through high-level commitments, a productive work environment with development partners as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local NGOs, scaling up of cost effective and lifesaving interventions across the country, training of midwives, as well as attention to equity and those living in remote areas.”

“The DHS survey demonstrates how far the Afghan public health sector has come and also how far it has to go,” stated Larry Sampler. What are the challenges of Afghanistan’s health sector? “Afghanistan still faces instability and insecurity, poverty, unemployment, the few number of midwives or health staff across the country,” explains Dr. Feroz. But in spite of these challenges, the Afghan MOPH is developing a national strategy for the next five years. “We will use this recent survey as a baseline to measure progress – to increase access to remote areas, improve the quality of services, introduce cost-effective interventions, and focus on equity issues.”

Dr. Fred Arnold of The DHS Program with Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan Minister of Public Health

Dr. Fred Arnold (left)  of The DHS Program with Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan Minister of Public Health

The survey covered topics including fertility and family planning, maternal and child health, childhood and maternal mortality, nutrition, malaria, HIV knowledge, and other health issues. The KIR is a short report of key indicators from the 2015 AfDHS that is meant to provide important data in a timely fashion to program managers and policy makers. Additional indicators such as the maternal mortality ratio will be included in the AfDHS Final Report, scheduled for release in late 2016.

To learn more about the Woodrow Wilson Center’s event, watch “A Good Diagnosis for Afghanistan: Strengthening the Health Sector” or visit the Wilson Center’s website.

The 2015 Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey (2015 AfDHS) was implemented by the Central Statistics Organization and the Ministry of Public Health from June 15, 2015, to February 23, 2016. The funding for the AfDHS was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). ICF International provided technical assistance through The DHS Program, a USAID-funded project providing support and technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide.

16 Jun 2016

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Lesotho

From left to right: Joanna Lowell of The DHS Program, Mr. Leutsoa Matsoso and Motsoanku Grace ‘Mefane of the Ministry of Health, Michelle Surdyk of USAID, Anna Masheane-Moseneke and Mahlape Ramoseme of the Ministry of Health

Name(s): Mrs. Anna Malefa Masheane/Moseneke (HIV/TB Clinical Officer), Miss Motsoanku Grace ‘Mefane (Sexual and Reproductive Health Manager), Miss Mahlape Ramoseme (Chief Statistician), and Mr. Leutsoa Matsoso (Head M&E Officer) of the Ministry of Health.

Country of origin:  Lesotho

When not working, favorite place to visit:

Anna: At the stadium watching football.

Motsoanku Grace: Public places to meet people, like hotels and parks, usually in the afternoon.

What has been the nicest surprise visiting The DHS Program headquarters?

Anna: Everybody seem to be busy doing their work.

Motsoanku Grace: The lack of noise.

Mahlape: Your team spirit towards your visitors.

What do you miss most about home when you are here?

Anna: Family members.

Motsoanku Grace: Braai and Papa.

Mahlape: Friends.

Leutsoa: Colleagues.

What is the biggest difference between The DHS Program headquarters office and your office at home?

Anna: Security here is very tight.

Motsoanku Grace: Staff here can work from home while in Lesotho we are always expected to come on duty for work.

What is your favorite DHS final report cover?

All: The 2009 Lesotho DHS.

Favorite DHS chapter or indicator?

Anna: Maternal Health.

Motsoanku Grace: Child Health.

Mahlape: HIV/AIDS.

What population or health issue are you most passionate about? 

Anna: Children under five.

Motsoanku Grace: Women of childbearing age.

How do you hope the DHS data from your country will be used?

Anna: For advocating for support from partners.

Motsoanku Grace: Prioritizing funding.

Mahlape: Decision making.

What have you learned from the DHS experience?

Anna: I find it easy to read and understand the tables now.

Motsoanku Grace: How to interpret surveys and write what results from them.

The 2014 Lesotho DHS was released on June 15, 2016. Download the final report here: http://bit.ly/LDHS14

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

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.