29 Oct 2018

Reflections from the 2018 DHS Fellows Program: Myanmar Team

We are pleased to announce that 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 Myanmar team as they reflect on their experience with the program and apply to join us for the global DHS Fellows Program in 2019.

Apply for the 2019 DHS Fellows Program

We are a three-member team from the University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar accepted into the 2018 Myanmar DHS Fellows Program.

Through the program, we learned that The DHS Program provides scientifically sound, affluent, and nationally representative data. DHS data are great additions to the limited data sources in Myanmar. Therefore, it is important that Myanmar researchers use these data effectively. In addition to the survey data, The DHS Program also provides reports and web tools (e.g. STATcompiler) that are useful for teaching, presentations, and writing papers. The program also provided us with a better understanding of DHS data, how to use data, select data, and analysis methods with STATA. The process of producing the working paper and preparing it for a peer-reviewed journal was also a reinforcing, challenging, and motivating task for us. We are grateful to the facilitators, Dr. Wenjuan Wang and Dr. Shireen Assaf, and other DHS experts for reviewing, commenting and editing our paper and we have submitted our article to the PLoS One journal for review. Overall, we had great experiences to share:

“I have some experiences of secondary data analysis using large datasets so, I thought that data analysis using DHS data might be easy for me but, it was quite challenging to understand DHS data structure, sampling and weighting procedure and, survey data analysis using STATA. The Fellows Program greatly improved our data management and analytical skills. I now realize the DHS data’s quality, validity, and usefulness and I am using DHS resources to teach my masters students.”

– Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya

“When I attended a Ph.D. program in Mahidol University (Thailand), many international post-graduate students used their country DHS data for their master thesis. At that time, Myanmar students faced a lot of difficulties with data collection. I am very glad that Myanmar has our own DHS data as a resource. In the past, due to inadequate resources (money, time and data), Myanmar researchers had few published articles. In the future, by analyzing DHS data, not only for students but also faculty members, researchers and government officials can produce many articles which will benefit the country.”

– Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw

“I have never used STATA software or secondary data analysis before the program. But after the training, the experience of using STATA and secondary data analysis was very advanced and not inferior to primary data. The program is practical for the use of data accompanied by paper writing and output. I plan to do further paper writing using DHS data.”

– Dr. Thandar Tun

After the program, we successfully conducted a capacity-building program, “Use of DHS data in STATA,” at our University to share our knowledge with 40 faculty staff from four medical universities and taught them how to use DHS data. As a result, lecturers from different medical universities, researchers and public health professionals are eager to generate articles using DHS data. Moreover, they committed to using the information accessible from valuable DHS resources such as DHS working papers, published articles, and STATcompiler.

DHS Myanmar Fellows held a data use workshop for over 40 participants, including university faculty, graduate students, and non-governmental organization staff.

In addition to completing our working paper, we conducted a dissemination seminar at our University to share the findings with a wide range of academic audiences including persons from the Ministry of Health and Sports. Stakeholders discussed research findings and expressed interest in using these findings in the future program and policy development. We took the opportunity to recommend the use of DHS data and encourage our colleagues to apply for the upcoming DHS Fellows Program.

We want to thank the DHS Fellows Program not only for giving us opportunities to learn about DHS data but also to establish international collaborative research network with teams from different countries. The DHS Fellows Program is one of the most outstanding, well-organized, effective, productive and useful programs in the world.

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!

Photo Credit: © 2018, ICF

Written by: Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya, Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw, & Dr. Thandar Tun

Dr. Kyaw Swa Mya is a Biostatistician. He is an Associate Professor and Head of Department of Biostatistics and Medical Demography, University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. He holds a masters degree of Public Health in Biostatistics. His research interests are Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition and Non-communicable diseases.

Dr. Aung Tin Kyaw holds a Ph.D. in Demography. He is a faculty member of the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Demography of University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. His research interests include HIV and migration.


Dr. Thandar Tun holds a masters degree in Public Health. She is a faculty member of Population and Family Health, University of Public Health, Yangon, Myanmar. Her research interests are Health equity, Health policy and management, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Maternal Health.

16 Oct 2018

In Memory of Bernard Barrère

Click here for a French translation

A life of service to global health, data, and cross-cultural collaboration

On October 14th 2018, Bernard Barrère, Deputy Director of The DHS Program, passed away from complications of esophageal cancer. Bernard served The DHS Program for 29 years in various capacities. He will be remembered as a pillar of the Demographic and Health Surveys, and as a survey expert with an incomparable work ethic and a huge and gentle heart.

Bernard earned degrees in Sociology, Demography, and International Development from the University of Toulouse in the 1970s. Bernard then moved to Cote d’Ivoire where he spent most of the 1980s teaching demography to undergraduates at the School of Medicine of the University of Abidjan. It was in Cote d’Ivoire that Bernard was first involved in large household surveys. He participated in the design of the World Fertility Survey (WFS, the predecessor of the DHS) and then supervised the implementation of the WFS in Cote d’Ivoire.

Bernard joined the DHS team in Maryland in 1989 as a Senior Demographic Expert, managing surveys in West Africa. His expertise and influence grew as he took on the position of HIV Coordinator, leading the DHS through the development of the AIDS Indicator Survey and the innovative process of collecting blood spots for HIV prevalence testing in DHS and AIS surveys. In 2012, Bernard became Deputy Director of The DHS Program, overseeing the design and implementation of more than 60 surveys every 5 years.

Over the course of almost 30 years, Bernard has been a mentor and friend to countless colleagues at The DHS Program offices and far beyond and was especially well known in virtually every francophone low- and middle-income country in Central and West Africa and around the world. He had deep relationships with data and development experts at USAID, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS, and the World Bank. He spent countless months providing technical assistance to surveys in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

Director of The DHS Program, Sunita Kishor summarizes:

“To say that Bernard will be missed underestimates how central Bernard’s contributions to The DHS Program have been. The DHS Program is committed to carrying forth the legacy that Bernard helped build. We can fill his position, but we cannot hope to ever replace him.”

Bernard returned home to France annually to enjoy friends, family, French culture, food, and wine. He is survived by his wife Monique and his son Maxime.

Colleagues and friends worldwide are invited to share memories with The DHS Program and Bernard’s family through the email address: inmemory@dhsprogram.com.

Photo Credit: © 2018, ICF

Une vie au service de la santé globale, des données et de la collaboration interculturelle

Le 14 octobre 2018, Bernard Barrère, le directeur adjoint du DHS Program, est décédé suite à des complications d’un cancer de l’œsophage. Bernard a occupé, pendant 29 ans, un nombre varié de rôles au sein du DHS Program. Nous nous souviendrons de lui comme un pilier des Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé, et aussi comme un expert en enquêtes ayant une éthique de travail incomparable et un cœur à la fois énorme et doux.

Bernard a fait ses études en Sociologie, Démographie et Développement International à l’Université de Toulouse dans les années 70. Après ses études, il déménagea à la Côte d’Ivoire, où il passa la majorité des années 80 à enseigner la démographie aux étudiants en licence à la Faculté de Médicine de l’Université d’Abidjan. C’est en Côte d’Ivoire que Bernard s’est impliqué pour la première fois dans les grandes enquêtes auprès des ménages. Il participa à la conception de l’Enquête Mondiale sur la Fécondité (EMF, le prédécesseur de l’EDS) et à ensuite a supervisé sa mise en œuvre

Bernard a rejoint l’équipe du DHS Program à Maryland en 1989 en tant qu’expert senior en démographie et responsable des enquêtes d’Afrique de l’ouest. Son expertise et son impact se sont accrus quand il a occupé le poste de Coordonnateur VIH. À ce poste, il a guidé The DHS Program dans le développement de l’Enquête sur les Indicateurs du Sida (EIS) et le processus innovateur de la collecte des échantillons de gouttes de sang séché pour mesurer la prévalence du VIH. En 2012, Bernard est devenu le directeur adjoint du DHS Program, responsable de la conception et la mise en œuvre de plus de 60 enquêtes tous les cinq ans.

Au cours des 30 dernières années, Bernard fut un parrain et un ami pour ses innombrables collègues à la fois dans le bureau du DHS Program et ailleurs. Il était particulièrement reconnu dans tous les pays francophones du monde où il a apporté son expertise. Il a noué des liens profonds avec les experts en données et en développement de l’USAID, l’UNICEF, l’OMS, l’UNAIDS et de la Banque Mondiale. Son assistance technique pour les enquêtes des pays de l’Afrique sub-saharienne, de l’Asie, du Moyen-Orient et de la Caraïbe, est inestimable.

La directrice du DHS Program, Sunita Kishor, a résumé notre perte en disant :

« Dire que Bernard nous manquera sous-estime le rôle central qu’il occupait au sein du DHS Program. Nous, du The DHS Program nous engageons à poursuivre l’héritage que Bernard a aidé à construire. Nous pouvons combler son poste, mais nous ne pourrons jamais le remplacer. »

Bernard aimait, chaque année, retourner en France pour y retrouver ses amis, sa famille, la culture, la nourriture et le bon vin français. Il laisse dans le deuil sa femme Monique et son fils Maxime.

Les collègues et amis partout dans le monde sont invités à partager leurs souvenirs avec The DHS Program et la famille de Bernard à l’adresse suivante : inmemory@dhsprogram.com.

Photo Credit: © 2018, ICF

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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.