27 Jul 2016

Connecting GIS and Public Health: 2016 Regional Health Data Mapping Workshop

Participants from Kenya and Zambia discussing their hand drawn maps.

In August, The DHS Program Geospatial team is hosting this year’s Regional Health Data Mapping Workshop in Accra, Ghana. The workshop will focus on the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) in public health, specifically using maps for better program and policy decisionmaking. This will be a basic workshop that introduces participants to data concepts including management and cleaning of data in Microsoft Excel, introduction to GIS concepts (including GPS data collection), using maps as part of the decisionmaking process, and hands-on introduction to QGIS, an open source GIS software package.

Participant from Zambia working on a 3-D data visualization activity.

We are excited to share mapmaking skills with a new group of participants! From finalizing the venue, selecting participants, and preparing the curriculum, we are working hard to organize everything for the workshop. Selecting the workshop participants was the most difficult part of the process so far but in the end, 20 participants were accepted out of the 600 that applied!

In 2015, we hosted a similar workshop in East Africa and also had over 600 applicants for 20 spots. We believe this continued show of interest indicates how important a skill mapmaking is, and the great need for this skill in the health sector across the world. The workshop curriculum facilitates learning these skills via guided activities, group work, and hands-on software activities where participants get to show off their hard work!

This year’s workshop specifically targets West African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo) and two others, Chad and Egypt, where The DHS Program has recently done or will soon be doing a household survey.

Applicants didn’t need to be experts in GIS to be selected – in fact, we preferred that they weren’t! We wanted applicants with little to no GIS experience, though certainly sought those with an interest in learning and strong data skills. In our selection, we focused on individuals with current positions within government ministries, development partners, and local universities. We hope that participants use their newfound health mapping skills to improve the use of DHS data and other data for decisionmaking in their home countries, and also to teach others in their home offices.

Participants from Tanzania practicing GPS data collection skills.

Even individuals who do not attend the workshop can still benefit from the learning of those who do and also from self-taught learning through our many mapmaking and data analysis-related resources at The DHS Program. These include the Spatial Data Repository, STATcompiler, Spatial Analysis Reports, and video tutorials.

I will be co-facilitating the workshop, so stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how it all went!

20 Jul 2016

Spotlight on New Staff: Trinadh Dontamsetti

Name: Trinadh Dontamsetti

Position title: Health Geographic Analyst

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Telugu

When not working, favorite place to visit:  You mean other than grandma’s house to get some home-cooked food? I have a definite soft spot for my hometown of Tampa, Florida and its perpetually great weather (and mom’s home-cooked food).

Favorite type of cuisine: I can’t say I’ve got a favorite, if only because I’ll eat anything and everything that looks good.  I most often catch myself cooking Italian or Chinese food, however.

Last good book you read: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.  While really heavy, it’s one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

Where would we find you on a Saturday?  Any number of places, depending on the time! A typical Saturday includes a long workout at the gym, a longer drive on winding roads (it’s my go-to stress relief), and a trip into DC to undo my workout by eating far too much.

First time you worked with DHS survey data: During my Master’s program at the University of South Florida, using 2013 Nigeria DHS GPS data as part of a study on schistosomiasis transmission.

What is on your desk (or bulletin board/wall) right now?  I’m a minimalist, so not much (that’s a better way of saying I’m too lazy to decorate).  I do have a tiny, magnetic alpaca that a friend brought me from Peru, and I plan to surround him with souvenirs once I get back from my first DHS trip to Ghana!

What is your favorite survey final report cover?   2010-11 Senegal DHS.  I’m a huge fan of geometric art.

Favorite chapter or indicator, and why? One of my major focuses during my Master’s program was vector-borne disease (specifically Integrated Vector Management as an alternative way of combating these diseases), so the indoor residual spraying indicator is of particular interest to me.

What’s your favorite way to access The DHS Program’s data?  You can’t go wrong with the Spatial Data Repository (SDR) and STATCompiler!

What population or health issue are you most passionate about?  Why?  I’ve been most fascinated and passionate about studying tuberculosis (TB), given that it’s been around for so long and yet continues to be such a burden all over the world.  With few exceptions, I focused almost all of my projects during grad school (including my final thesis) on studying some aspect of TB.  Since there’s so much overlap between TB and other diseases (most notably HIV/AIDS), I’ve been trying to familiarize myself further with the HIV/AIDS work done by DHS so that I can get a better understanding of the interplay between these two diseases.

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?  I’m extremely excited that I’ll be working on analytical projects and conducting research as part of my work here, which makes all those late nights in the computer lab during grad school doing analytical projects and conducting research seem just a little bit more worth it in the long run.

What has been your biggest surprise so far?  The incredible amount of support I so routinely receive from everyone in the office as I settle into my position, and the continued opportunities I’m being given to learn new things but also contribute to ongoing projects by applying the skills I’ve brought in.

What do you look forward to bringing to The DHS Program (job-related or not!)? A public health-centric GIS perspective, an unhealthy obsession with food (did I mention it at least three times already in this post?), an even less healthy obsession with superheroes and cars, and a nearly endless supply of optimism and sarcasm (could this be any more cliché?).

13 Jul 2016

Spotlight on Implementing Agencies: Tchad


In April 2016, The DHS Program welcomed visitors from Tchad. 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 : Riguide Mbaissanadje (Point Focal du Ministère de la Sante Publique), Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye (Chef de Service des Etudes de Population et Perspectives Démographiques de e’INSEED), et Boyalngar Mbatina (Chef de Département des Etudes Démographiques  et de la Cartographie à l’Institut National de la Statistique)

Pays d’origine : Tchad

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

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye: Je me suis retrouvé dans une situation semblable aux autres occasions où j’en ai travaillé sur la relecture et finalisation d’un rapport d’enquête nationale du Tchad

Boyalngar Mbatina : Préparation du mémoire de fin d’études pour l’obtention du Diplôme D’Études Supérieures Spécialisées en Démographie (DESSD)

Qu’est-ce que vous avez trouvé comme surprise  agréable lors de votre séjour  à « The DHS Program »?

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La sympathie.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Le temps passe plus vite que je ne m’attendais.

Boyalngar Mbatina : L’organisation du travail ainsi que la spécialité de chaque agent.

Qu’est-ce que vous manque le plus de chez vous quand vous êtes ici ?

Riguide Mbaissanadje: Les chaînes de télévision en Français

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye: L’ambiance en famille

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

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La salle de café.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye et Boyalngar Mbatina : Le bureau DHS est bien équipé avec le minimum requis et les cadres disposent de moyens matériels pour effectuer les travaux et les tâches sont réparties d’avance.  Ce n’est pas comme chez nous où une personne ne peut pas faire beaucoup de tâches en même temps.

Quelle est votre  page de couverture préférée ?

Tout : EDST-2 du Tchad de 2004

Quel est votre chapitre ou indicateur préféré, et pourquoi ? 

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Chapitre 12, Mortalité des enfants de moins de 5 ans parce qu’il montre que la mortalité infantile est faible dans le Barh, El Grazal et le LAC.  Il y a lieu de faire une recherche sur la corrélation qui existe entre la mortalité et les indicateurs sanitaires (soins prénatals, vaccination des enfants et accouchement assisté).

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Le paludisme.  Il y a 8 ménages sur 10 qui possèdent une MII (EDS-MICS 2014-15) bien qu’au Nord il n’y a pratiquement pas de paludisme.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Le chapitre sur la fécondité et l’ISF car il permet de bien comprendre les enjeux réels des problèmes et questions de population dans un pays en développement.

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

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Le VIH/SIDA. Parce que pendant la collecte, avant la collecte, j’étais le responsable de tous les matériels… On a eu beaucoup de difficultés pendant la collecte et l’analyse au laboratoire mais les résultats nous réconfortent.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : La consommation d’alcool et de tabac, les maladies nontransmissibles constituent des pathologies émergentes faisant sournoisement de savage au sein de la population et il est intéressant d’étudier les causes les plus communes qui sont le tabagisme, l’abus d’alcool, un régime alimentaire  malsain et l’inactivité physique.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Malnutrition des enfants de moins de 5 ans, car un enfant qui a un problème de croissance après deux dans, il y a peu de chance pour qu’une intervention, quoiqu’elle soit, puisse améliorer la situation.

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

Riguide Mbaissanadje : Les données seront utilisées pour l’élaboration des documents politiques et stratégiques des Ministères de la Santé Publique, de l’Education Nationale et de la Femme et de l’Action Sociale

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : Restitution des principaux résultats aux institutions clés et personnes enquêtées; valorisation des données ; enseignements méthodologiques tirés ; concrétisation des objectifs et usages de données colletées

Boyalngar Mbatina : Pour la planification du développement et pour l’amélioration des conditions sanitaires et de vie de la population

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

Riguide Mbaissanadje : La collecte de sang à travers le DBS, conservation sur le terrain et la transmission au laboratoire.

Noubadignim Ronelyanbaye : La répartition équilibrée des tâches et la rigueur scientifique dans la rédaction des commentaires concernant les niveaux d’indicateurs qui ne sont pas attendues.

Boyalngar Mbatina : Le sens de responsabilité dans le travail, la rigueur dans le travail, le désir d’en savoir plus, et l’esprit d’équipe et de collaboration.

The 2014-15 Tchad EDS-MICS was released on July 11, 2016. Download the final report here.






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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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.