18 Oct 2017

The DHS Fellows Program Continues in both Asia and Africa in 2018

The overarching objective of the DHS Fellows Program is to build institutional capacity of universities in DHS countries to analyze DHS data. The underlying belief of the DHS Fellows Program is that by working with university faculty, whose job is to educate the future government officials, policymakers, and program managers in their countries, the program will create sustainable capacity in the country for the use of DHS data.

Since 2011, the Fellows Program has trained about 100 researchers from over 30 universities in 18 DHS countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Fellows have produced a number of high-quality research papers that are published on The DHS Program website. Most of these papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

In addition to producing sound research based on DHS data, the Fellows Program has substantially increased institutional capacity to analyze DHS data through the Fellows’ capacity strengthening activities in their home universities. Fellows have integrated DHS data into the curriculum, held department seminars and research meetings for DHS data sensitization, mentored graduate students to use DHS data in dissertations, and conducted DHS data analysis workshops for students and/or faculty. Many of these activities continue after the Fellowship ends. For example, Nigerian Fellows from Obafemi Awolowo University have conducted their own annual training on DHS data analysis since 2012 and trained over 100 participants from a variety of organizations in Nigeria to use DHS data.

The Fellows Program has primarily focused on universities in sub-Saharan African countries, but in 2017, the Program was implemented in Asia and the Middle East.

Six teams from Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines analyzed DHS data to address a variety of research questions including contraceptive use dynamics in Egypt, postpartum family planning in Nepal, women’s empowerment and maternal health service utilization in Southeast Asia, low birth weight in Cambodia, and use of traditional contraception in the Philippines. Before the Fellowship ended, five teams had submitted their papers to peer-reviewed journals. We look forward to seeing their research published in more journals and contributing to related literature.

In 2018, we are pleased to announce that the DHS Fellows Program will cover both Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. We are currently accepting applications from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, Timor-Leste, and Zimbabwe. Click below to apply on The DHS Program website. Leave any questions or comments below and let us know if you applied!

Photo caption: Participants from the 2017 DHS Fellows Data Users Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand.

12 Oct 2017

The New Nutrition Team

Hemoglobin analysis in DHS surveys in carried out with a portable HemoCue analyzer.

Did you know that nutrition is one of the most published topics using data from The DHS Program? This shows what a major resource The DHS Program is for nutrition-related policy, programs, and research. Recognizing the important contribution of nutrition data, two new nutrition experts have recently joined The DHS Program team, Drs. Sorrel Namaste and Rukundo K. Benedict.

As our new nutrition experts, they will manage all aspects of nutrition data collection and use, working to:

  • Ensure provision of high-quality nutrition data within The DHS Program
  • Explore innovations for nutrition data in low- and middle-income countries
  • Support evidence-based programming and policies with relevant and timely nutrition data
  • Build capacity in nutrition data measurement, analysis, and use around the world

Some of The DHS Program’s recent activities on nutrition include the new Hemoglobin report, and we are also currently seeking applications for the 2018 DHS Fellows Program. To stay up-to-date with more nutrition activities, sign up for our upcoming nutrition newsletter.

So join us in welcoming our new nutrition team in the comment section, and learn more about them in their bios below. If you still have any questions or comments, you can reach out to them directly at nutrition@dhsprogram.com.


Dr. Sorrel Namaste is the Senior Nutrition Technical Advisor for The DHS Program. She is an epidemiologist with expertise in nutrition assessment and implementation research. Dr. Namaste has a particular interest in the use of data to strengthen the feedback loop between the scientific, policy, and implementation communities. Prior to joining The DHS Program, she was the Anemia Team Lead for the USAID-funded SPRING project. In this capacity, she provided technical assistance to governments to develop national strategies, supported program implementation, and contributed to the formation of global policies. Previously, she also worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she was responsible for supporting large-scale global nutrition research projects. While at NIH, she served as the co-principal investigator on the Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutrition Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) Project. She completed her DrPH at George Washington University and holds an MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Global Epidemiology.

Dr. Rukundo K. Benedict is a Nutrition Technical Specialist for The DHS Program. She is a public health nutrition practitioner with expertise in infant and young child feeding (IYCF), water-sanitation hygiene (WASH), community health systems and the delivery of integrated interventions in low-resource settings. Prior to joining The DHS Program, she worked as a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University on policy and program relevant projects. She led a project with UNICEF South Asia to examine the epidemiology of breastfeeding in South Asia and to explore the effectiveness of strategies to support breastfeeding and maternal nutrition and infant feeding counseling. She also conducted implementation research on the delivery of nutrition and nutrition sensitive interventions by community health workers in the Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) trial in rural Zimbabwe. She has a PhD in International Nutrition from Cornell University and an MSPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Photo Caption: Hemoglobin analysis in DHS surveys in carried out with a portable HemoCue analyzer

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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.