Countless studies have shown that breast milk is beneficial to an infant’s growth and development during the first year of life. This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week from the WHO and World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action highlights the importance of supporting breastfeeding with skilled breastfeeding counseling.
The DHS Program has collected data for more than 30 years about initial breastfeeding, breastfeeding status and frequency, and the median duration of breastfeeding. Additionally, the Service Provision Assessment (SPA) provides insight on the overall readiness of health facilities to promote and support early breastfeeding as part of the antenatal care and newborn services package. Putting the baby to the breast within one hour of birth ensures that the infant receives the colostrum or “first milk” which contains antibodies to protect against infectious diseases and lipids to promote weight gain. Choosing to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months provides natural, renewable, and free food that does not require preparation or packaging.
In 2019, The DHS Program authored a study, Examining theRole of Health Facilities in Supporting Early Breastfeeding in Haiti and Malawi, about the relationship between the breastfeeding-related health service environment during antenatal care (ANC) and early initiation of breastfeeding. Using data from recent SPA surveys in Haiti and Malawi, three variables related to the health service environment are defined: availability of facilities with ANC services that report routine counseling on breastfeeding, provider training on breastfeeding, and observation of breastfeeding counseling during ANC and client’s report of breastfeeding counseling.
In Haiti, nearly all ANC facilities in both urban and rural areas report routine breastfeeding counseling during ANC, while 29% of urban and 26% of rural ANC providers received recent training in breastfeeding or infant and young child feeding (IYCF). Among urban and rural clients, 4% received counseling on breastfeeding.
The results of the analysis show that over 95% of facilities in both urban and rural areas of Haiti and Malawi report that breastfeeding counseling is provided. However, 26% to 40% of providers have received training in counseling on breastfeeding in the two years before the surveys, and only 4% to 10% of clients have received counseling. Analysis of linked SPA and DHS data show that having more providers recently trained on breastfeeding is significantly associated with increased odds of early breastfeeding among ANC clients in urban areas of Haiti and Malawi.
In Malawi, nearly all ANC facilities in both urban and rural areas report routine breastfeeding counseling during ANC, while 40% of both urban and rural ANC providers received recent training in breastfeeding or IYCF. Only 10% of urban clients and 4% of rural clients received counseling on breastfeeding.
This study clearly defines the role health institutions can play in promoting breastfeeding by providing support and education to new mothers and their families. By doing so health institutions can enable mothers to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life to ensure optimal growth, health, and development.
July 11th is World Population Day. This year’s UNFPA theme, Putting the brakes on COVID-19, is focused on safeguarding the health of women and girls during the pandemic. World Population Day is an opportunity to pause and reflect on how women are uniquely affected by the COVID-19 crisis:
Women make up the largest share of frontline health workers, so they are disproportionately exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Disrupted supply chains impact women’s access to modern contraceptives, which can result in unintended pregnancies.
Staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 puts already vulnerable women at a heightened risk of violence. In addition, gender-based violence prevention and protection efforts, social services, and care have been reduced during the pandemic.
The pandemic creates additional barriers to people who are pregnant to access antenatal care and safe-delivery services.
With the disruption of schools and community-based services, adolescents and young people may struggle to access information and services related to sexual and reproductive health.
A population pyramid is a great visualization of a country’s distribution of age groups by sex. Take The DHS Program’s #PopPyramid Quiz to test your knowledge of population pyramids from recently published Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and learn more about DHS indicators related to COVID-19 prevention.
Are facilities prepared to face infectious disease pandemics like COVID-19? A new fact sheet explores infection control and readiness in health facilities from seven Service Provision Assessments (SPA) conducted in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Nepal, Senegal, and Tanzania. The SPA collects information on the availability of different health services in a country and facilities’ readiness to provide those services.
In six out of seven countries, fewer than 75% of facilities have soap and running water or alcohol-based disinfectant for handwashing. Senegal is the exception, where 95% of health facilities in Senegal have these resources for handwashing.
Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as latex gloves, medical masks, and gowns varies. In Nepal, latex gloves are available in 80% of facilities, while only 19% have medical masks and 9% have gowns. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, gowns (83%) and latex gloves (75%) are more common than medical masks (14%).
In Haiti, only 17% of facilities have appropriate storage of infectious waste, and fewer than half of facilities have safe final disposal of infectious waste. In Tanzania, 44% of facilities have appropriate storage of infectious waste, while 36% have safe final disposal of infectious waste.
Fewer than 1 in 4 facilities in five countries offer in-patient care. Few facilities have oxygen.
Most facilities have a thermometer and stethoscope. In Bangladesh, 86% of facilities have a thermometer and 94% have a stethoscope.
Explore indicators on infection prevention, PPE, diagnostic capacity, and newly tabulated indicators on therapeutic readiness in the new fact sheet.
The current World Health Organization’s guidelines call for the public focus on handwashing, social distancing, communication with medical providers, and staying informed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, such guidance may be more aspirational than actionable for millions at risk of exposure to the virus in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as revealed by recent Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). DHS data from 2014 onward from more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America highlight the very different contexts for daily living in LMICs. These realities must be considered when developing country or context-specific strategies for reducing COVID-19 transmission.
The basics required for handwashing (soap and water) are taken for granted by many but are not readily available for millions of people. In Burundi (2016-17 DHS), only 5% of households were observed to have soap and water for handwashing (among those where handwashing places were observed). Soap and water were present in fewer than 20% of households in Malawi, Ethiopia, Benin, and Mali (see chart). A location for handwashing with soap and water was found in fewer than half of households in 21 out of 36 recent surveys for which The DHS Program has this information.
Household Size and Sleeping Arrangements:
Messaging about social distancing in the current pandemic focuses on staying home and reducing contact with people. In LMICs, self-quarantining to individual households and nuclear families may not be a particularly useful concept.
Households in Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Guinea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Senegal are the largest, with six or more members on average. The ability to distance from sick or vulnerable family members within the household is crucial, but in many households sleeping quarters are crowded. Households in Pakistan, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Cambodia have the highest average of people per sleeping room, at three or more.
Household Age Structure:
A recent article in the Hindustan Times pointed out that multi-generational households in India might be a risk factor for coronavirus transmission to the elderly. The 2015-16 India National Family Health Survey (India’s DHS) reported that 4 in 10 Indian households are non-nuclear families, many of which are multi-generational. This type of family structure makes social distancing, especially for the elderly, very challenging. When younger children go to school, or working-age adults go to work, they return home to multi-generational families in which the elderly are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. While the proportion of population age 65+ in DHS countries is not large, there are some key things to note, particularly within the context of multigenerational households. In recent surveys, on average, about 5% of the population is 65+, but in countries like India (6.6%) and Indonesia (6.2%), these seemingly small percentages correspond to many millions of people due to population size.
The DHS Program’s STATcompiler allows users to create custom
tables, charts, and maps from 1000s of indicators across 90 countries.
Just this week, the STATcompiler has been updated to include new indicators to help contextualize the COVID-19 crisis in DHS countries, and two “COVID19” tags have been added to help users identify these indicators. Explore data on handwashing, sanitation, household size, sleeping arrangements, access to media, spousal violence, and more. Other relevant DHS indicators on household age structure, access to internet and cell phones, and tobacco use will be added in the coming weeks.
Health emergencies necessitate that urgent information be shared with the public in a timely manner. And yet large portions of the global population live without regular access to mass media. More than half of women age 15-49 in Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Benin, Timor-Leste, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Chad report that they do not have weekly access to information via radio, television, or newspaper.
In 30 out of 47 recent DHS surveys, at least 75% of households owned at least one mobile telephone. Still, ownership is lower in rural areas, and still uncommon in some countries; in Madagascar, for example, only one-third of households owned a mobile phone in 2016. Internet access, however, is very low across DHS countries. In Nigeria, only 16% of women and 35% of men age 15-49 used the internet in the past year (2018 NDHS). In Zambia, use was even lower, at 12% of women and 26% of men (2018 ZDHS).
Additional Considerations: Domestic Violence, Tobacco Use, and Access to Basic Health Services
And then there are potential secondary risk factors. How does cigarette smoking affect vulnerability? How will families cope with the stresses of a pandemic and the interpersonal conflicts exacerbated in quarantine settings? Will women and children continue to get the general health services they need, such as vaccinations, antenatal and delivery care, family planning, and nutritional support? These questions are important in all settings, but especially in those that are still in the process of building systems to support accessible, quality health care services. In Nigeria, for example, fewer than one-third of children age 12-23 months have received all 8 basic vaccinations, only about 40% of births are delivered in a health facility, and 19% of women have an unmet need for family planning.
Averaging across countries with data on spousal violence shows that 1 out of 4 women report physical, sexual, or emotional violence committed by their husband or partner within the last 12 months, and 36% report ever having faced such violence in their lifetime. These data suggest that social distancing may expose a significant proportion of already vulnerable women to a heightened risk of violence as women are forced to spend even more time with their abusers than usual and their access to sources of help is further limited by the pandemic.
There are countless other factors that are likely affecting COVID-19 transmission throughout the world. Urbanization, and slum environments in particular, are breeding grounds for contagion. In LMICs, millions of people migrate to city-centers for employment and are now migrating home to rural areas seeking safe-haven. These and myriad other factors can be explored in DHS datasets and final reports.
Pandemics require data-driven decisions. While it is one unique virus that has spanned the globe, individual nations, communities, cultures, and families all face it within their own contexts. We can’t collect DHS household data during a pandemic. But we owe it to families in DHS countries to use the information already collected to better inform decisions to provide recommendations that resonate in their settings and to safeguard their already fragile health infrastructure.
Don’t read French? You can use the translate feature at the top of the page!
Si vous êtes intéressé à être présenté dans la série de blogs ‘DHS Data Users’, faites-le nous savoir ici en nous soumettant votre exemple d’utilisation des données du programme DHS.
Comment êtes-vous impliqué
dans les enquêtes de The DHS Program ?
J’ai travaillé pendant trois années comme superviseur national du volet ménage des Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé (EDS)-Continue au Sénégal. Durant cette expérience, en plus du suivi de la collecte, j’ai participé activement dans le traitement des données (éditions secondaires) et dans l’analyse des données. Lors de l’EDS-Continue, j’ai bénéficié de formations en matière de :
L’échantillonnage de l’EDS ;
Les procédures de traitement des données de
Les méthodes dynamiques de formation pour adultes.
Cette dernière a changé ma façon d’animer les ateliers. En toute modestie, si aujourd’hui la qualité de mon enseignement ou d’animation est appréciée, c’est en grande partie grâce à la formation sur les méthodes dynamiques de formation pour adultes que j’ai suivi.
Et les ateliers de l’utilisation et de l’analyse de données des enquêtes de
The DHS Program ?
2019, The DHS Program m’a engagé pour animer un atelier, Tendances des
Indicateurs du Paludisme au Bénin.
L’atelier portait sur l’analyse des tendances temporelles des indicateurs du paludisme au Bénin. La finalité était de contribuer à l’amélioration des capacités des 18 acteurs opérationnels de la mise en œuvre du programme paludisme par :
une formation sur la méthodologie de la collecte, le calcul des indicateurs clés du paludisme, notamment l’identification de numérateur et du dénominateur de chaque indicateur;
un examen des intervalles de confiances et leur interprétation
Comment utilisez-vous les données des enquêtes de The DHS Program lors de votre travail actuel ?
Depuis 2018, je
suis Data Manager de l’Evaluation prospective des programmes du Fonds Mondial
(Tuberculose, VIH, Paludisme) où je suis chargé de la gestion et de l’analyse
des données de l’évaluation.
Les données de l’EDS nous permettent de vérifier l’exactitude des données des programmes de santé mais aussi d’estimer les connaissances, attitudes et pratiques de la population sur les maladies telles que la tuberculose, le VIH ou encore le paludisme.
Quel est le problème de
population ou de santé qui vous intéresse le plus, et pourquoi ?
particulièrement intéressé par la planification familiale. La plupart des décès
maternels restent liés aux grossesses rapprochées, trop nombreuses, précoces ou
tardives. C’est pourquoi la planification familiale constitue une méthode des
plus efficaces et peu couteuse pour améliorer la santé des femmes et des
enfants et lutter contre la mortalité maternelle et infantile.
En effet, en dépit des progrès réalisés dans le secteur de la santé au Sénégal, les taux de mortalité maternelle et infantile n’ont pas connu l’évolution espérée ces dix dernières années. Le pourcentage de décès de femmes liés à la grossesse est l’un des plus élevés de la sous-région (29%). Par ailleurs, la mortalité infantile (42 décès pour 1 000 naissances vivantes, EDS-C 2017) reste au même niveau depuis quelques années et ce à cause, notamment, du nombre important de décès néonataux (28 décès pour 1 000 naissances vivantes, EDS-C 2017) qui représentent la moitié des décès infantiles.
Ingénieur statisticien de formation avec
une spécialisation en informatique décisionnelle, Ibrahima GAYE est aussi
titulaire d’un Master en management de projets et d’un Master en santé publique
spécialité Méthode Quantitatives et Économétriques pour la Recherche en santé,
pour lequel il a utilisé les données de l’EDS dans le cadre de son mémoire de
Master en santé publique sur : « Analyse multiniveau de l’utilisation
de la contraception au Sénégal ». Il est maintenant en train d’écrire sa
thèse de Doctorat en santé publique : « Contribution du modèle
Age-Période-Cohorte (APC) à l’étude de la prévalence contraceptive au
Sénégal », pour lequel il utilisera également les données de l’EDS.
This blog post is part of Luminare, our blog series exploring innovative solutions to data collection, quality assurance, biomarker measurement, data use, and further analysis.
Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) collect nationally representative data and data representative at the first subnational administrative level (ADMIN 1). The 2016 Ethiopia DHS was designed to produce representative estimates for nine regions and two administrative cities. The 2014 Kenya DHS produced estimates for eight regions (formerly provinces). In addition to national-level indicators, STATcompiler also presents subnational data, as shown in the map of childhood stunting at the ADMIN 1 level in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Childhood Stunting by Subnational Level, 2016 Ethiopia DHS & 2014 Kenya DHS
Click the map to explore childhood stunting using STATcompiler.
National and ADMIN 1 data help countries track their progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, for instance. However, as countries decentralize their health service delivery systems, local health officials increasingly need local data. In Ethiopia, nine regions are further divided into zones and special districts (ADMIN 2). In Kenya, eight regions are further divided into counties.
One option to get data representative at the ADMIN 2 level is
to increase the survey sample size, requiring more time and more money. Another
option is to produce spatially interpolated maps, which use Bayesian geospatial
modeling techniques to predict indicator values at non-surveyed locations.
The DHS Program’s Geospatial team assembled data for 12 geospatial
covariates, such as elevation, precipitation, and population density. These
covariates are related to and can partially explain variation in health indicators
of interest, allowing for more accurate predictions across the map.
Next, the Geospatial team imported georeferenced cluster data points from the 2016 Ethiopia DHS and 2014 Kenya DHS. (Did you know? You can download shapefiles or geodatabases of georeferenced data for most DHS surveys from the Spatial Data Repository.)
Using the geospatial covariates and survey data, the Geospatial team employed a new modeling approach–a stacked ensemble model–which combines multiple models. This increases predictive power and captures the potentially complex interactions and non-linear effects among the geospatial covariates. Three sub-models were fit to the health indicator data using the geospatial covariates as exploratory predictors. The prediction surfaces generated from the sub-models were then used in the final Bayesian geospatial model, producing 5 X 5 km pixel-level mean estimates of health indicators with associated uncertainty.
Childhood Stunting by 5 X 5 km Pixel, 2016 Ethiopia DHS & 2014 Kenya DHS
Modeled surface maps available from the Spatial Data Repository.
Pixel-level estimates were then used to calculate population-weighted averages to aggregate estimates to the ADMIN 2 level. For Ethiopia, this produced estimates of childhood stunting by zone, and in Kenya, estimates by county.
Childhood Stunting by ADMIN 2 level, 2016 Ethiopia DHS & 2014 Kenya DHS
Health system program managers in Ethiopia and Kenya can now use these zonal- and county-specific estimates to make decisions and manage locally administered health programs to address childhood stunting in their areas.
The DHS Program will continue exploring model-based
geostatistics as a feasible, reliable, and cost-effective way to produce local
data for local needs.
Over the last 30 years, The DHS Program has published more than 500 analytical reports in collaboration with researchers and institutions around the world. These reports extend to a wide variety of topics covering population and health issues with the ultimate purpose to be used in policy formation, program planning, and monitoring and evaluation. However, many potential beneficiaries of DHS Program research findings are intimidated by these long, technical reports.
In order to expand the reach of DHS analyses to program managers, policymakers, and academic researchers, The DHS Program is pleased to announce a new user-friendly format of analysis reports. Analysis Briefs are two- to three-page user-friendly documents summarizing the methods, key findings, and any relevant action steps.
These abbreviated, colorful briefs with graphics highlight major findings in a more accessible way that allow readers to use the findings for program or policy use in their respective country. If readers choose to dive into the full report, the brief still provides an orientation through the technical data in the full report. The graphics are presented in a simplified way to orient the information in a clear, visual display. Readers with limited time and attention are encouraged to review the accompanying briefs for a condensed summary of the full analysis report.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign is back in action for 2019 under the theme “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” This year, The DHS Program is highlighting sexual and physical violence indicators, as well as help seeking behavior in Tajikistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Benin, and Mali.
Click on a graph below to open the indicator in STATcompiler. Use STATcompiler to compare other domestic violence indicators across countries, and share your results on social media using #orangetheword and #generationeqaulity. You can even add additional background characteristics and view the data over time or by region. For more ways to use STATcompiler, watch our STATcompiler tutorials.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that, globally, 289,000 women of reproductive age die of maternal causes each year. Over 80% of these deaths are due to complications during childbirth and the postpartum period. Skilled birth attendance at health facilities equipped to handle complications is crucial for ensuring maternal survival. While Kenya has made progress in improving maternal health services in the last decade, data from the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey show that less than two-thirds of births are delivered in a health facility.
The DHS Program recently published a study on place of delivery and shared the results with county stakeholders and USAID project implementers at dissemination events in Kisumu, Turkana, Nakuru, and Nairobi counties. One aim of the study was to explore the “why” questions that sometimes are left unanswered with indicator estimates and other quantitative analysis; specifically: Why do women in Kenya deliver at home, even in instances when health facilities appear to be available?
Click photos to enlarge.
Exploring this research question included the use of journey mapping methods. In particular, the data collection tools were designed with the aim of mapping the journey for Kenyan women from the time when they learn they are pregnant to when and where they give birth.
A journey mapping approach recognizes that often a journey does not follow a straight line; instead, a journey—from pregnancy to delivery in this case—includes many economic, familial, and sociocultural factors that must be navigated along the way. In addition, the focus on mapping journeys works to uncover the story related to a woman’s delivery experience.
Data from the study suggest that place of delivery is not as simple as grouping women into the dichotomy of those who choose to deliver in a health facility and those who choose to deliver outside a health facility. Numerous factors influence place of delivery, and women do not necessarily always choose the place of delivery. The study’s conclusions recognize that contextual factors and decision making pertaining to place of delivery are complex. The pregnancy-to-delivery continuum follows an ever-shifting terrain influenced by myriad individual and collective beliefs, perceptions, tensions, and experiences.
Key Conclusions: Understanding the Nuances of a Women’s Journey along the Pregnancy-to-Delivery Continuum
Decision making occurs over time
Limited options for services to address fears and insecurities
Gendered views regarding male partner involvement in health care
Geographic and transportation challenges
Free maternity care is not always free
Expectation of support and respectful maternal care not always met
Prominence of and preferences for traditional birth attendant (TBA)
Challenges negotiating decisions and power dynamics in a marriage or partnership
Hesitancy of health facilities to accommodate for traditional practice
Potential reliance on financial support from male partners
The conclusions from this study represent a platform to galvanize momentum and facilitate a commitment to take positive steps forward. Past and present strategies and programs put into operation by USAID/Kenya, the Government of Kenya, and their partners have made substantial progress in improving the uptake of optimal maternal and child health practices. Research studies such as this one—and the use of journey mapping methods—can make a valuable contribution to knowledge about both the context in which women experience pregnancy and delivery and the specific challenges they face along the pregnancy-to-delivery continuum.
Download the full study, “Place of Delivery: Perceptions, Tensions, and Experiences. Results from a Study in Baringo, Kisumu, Migori, Samburu, and Turkana Counties, Kenya” on The DHS Program website.
The DHS Program is pleased to share our updated questionnaires for DHS-8. We held an open comment period in early 2019 and received over 1,000 pages of material from stakeholders worldwide. After careful consideration of each submission, we made numerous changes to better meet existing and emerging data needs in global health. We are especially excited to announce the shift from a birth history to a full pregnancy history and the addition of minimum dietary diversity for women.
We added 183 new questions across all health areas, revised existing questions to better measure current indicators, and deleted questions that were no longer programmatically relevant. We have also expanded into new areas, including alcohol consumption and breast and cervical cancer screening. Additional changes to DHS optional modules and a list of new modules will be announced later this year.
In addition to the updated questionnaires, a brief summary document was developed highlighting the revision process and new content included in the core questionnaires. Revisions were made to the majority of topics including, family planning, nutrition, gender, HIV, vaccination, and more.
Learn more about the DHS-8 questionnaire revisions by the numbers in the infographic below.