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.

Written by The DHS Program

5 thoughts on “Reflections from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program: Afghanistan

  1. I am Getachew Mengistu from Ethiopia. I have MSC in Master of public health from Bahir Dar University with a CGPA of 3.80. I have given volunteer service to support in fight against ebola outbreak in West Africa during 2014/15. I think this conributon shows my professional commitement to esure the health and welbeing of people in the wokrld. Now i need to be a member of this DHS fellow program to provide further coontribution for our world.

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