Category Archives: Data

21 Jul 2021

Mapping Unrealized Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many women in DHS Program countries have fewer children than they desire. Our newest StoryMap explores unrealized fertility in sub-Saharan Africa, based on the recently published analysis Comparing Ideal and Completed Family Size: A Focus on Women in Low- and Middle-income Countries with Unrealized Fertility. Unrealized fertility is most common among women in Western and Central Africa where about 60% of women age 40-49 report that they had fewer children than they would have liked.

The StoryMap and paper also explore sex preference, ideal family size, and subnational variation in unrealized fertility.


Featured image © Roger Tete for PMI/USAID

08 Jul 2021

World Population Day 2021

July 11th is World Population Day. The Household Questionnaire collects information on all members of and visitors to households selected to participate in Demographic and Health Surveys. Basic information including age, sex, marital status, education, and relationship to the head of the household is collected for everyone who stayed in the selected households the night before the interview. Some of this information is visualized in a population pyramid, a great visualization of a country’s distribution of age groups by sex. The population pyramid is typically found in chapter 2 of Demographic and Health Survey Final Reports. Demographers can identify population trends based on a population pyramid’s shape and make predictions about that country’s population in the future.

Test your knowledge of demography, fertility, and population pyramids by taking The DHS Program’s #PopPyramid Quiz featuring population pyramids from recently published Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Hint: Use STATcompiler.com to find the answers.

The DHS Program’s #PopPyramid Quiz

22 Jun 2021

The DHS Program’s Digital Resources

The DHS Program has several digital resources available for free to help data users understand, analyze, visualize, and use DHS survey indicators to support evidence-based decision making.

Click on each icon below to access the digital resource.

DHS Program website
STATcompiler
Mobile App
Application Programming Interface
Spatial Data Repository

DHS Program YouTube channel
User Forum

Code Share Library on GitHub
DHS Program Learning Hub

Have you used any of The DHS Program’s digital resources? Share your feedback with The DHS Program by taking the user survey.

Get an overview of these digital resources and more in the new video The DHS Program’s Digital Resources.

Avez-vous utilisé l’une des ressources numériques du DHS Program ? Partagez vos commentaires avec le DHS Program en répondant à l’enquête d’utilisateurs.

Obtenez un aperçu des ressources numériques disponibles dans la nouvelle vidéo Les ressources numériques du DHS Program, en français.

26 May 2021

IPUMS Announces Winners of the 2020 Global Health Research Awards

Every year, hundreds of papers are published using DHS Program data. Datasets for individual DHS surveys are available for download from The DHS Program website by completing a simple registration form. Researchers and students can also access the IPUMS DHS data collection to facilitate comparative analysis of DHS Program data. Harmonized across time and space, IPUMS DHS features consistently named and coded variables for 32 African countries and 9 Asian countries, with more datasets constantly being added.

The IPUMS DHS team recently announced the winners of this year’s IPUMS Global Health paper awards, which highlight some of the most exciting research to take advantage of the IPUMS DHS integrated datasets. These papers were selected from a highly competitive field that included nearly 50 studies released in 2020.

The Best IPUMS Global Health Publication Award goes to Zinguang Fan (Department of Sociology, Peking University, Beijing, China) and Maria Vignan Loria (Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA) for their Demographic Research article, “Intimate Partner Violence and Contraceptive Use in Developing Countries: How Does the Relationship Depend on Context?

Fan and Loria resolve a puzzle in prior research on intimate partner violence (IPV): Why is the relationship between IPV and contraceptive use negative in some countries and positive in others? Using 30 IPUMS DHS samples from 17 countries, the authors demonstrate that the relationship between IPV and family planning is modified by macro contextual factors, including legal prohibitions and national levels of female empowerment. This study stands out not just for answering an important social science question but also in its creative use of the broad range of information collected in DHS Program surveys, including variables on contraceptive use and type, family size preferences, husband-wife disagreement on fertility goals, various indicators of women’s status (e.g., education, employment, decision-making), and domestic violence. In addition, the authors draw on IPUMS DHS variables to determine the direction of causality: from the experience of IPV to increased contraceptive use, rather than from contraceptive use to increased incidence of IPV.

The Best Student Paper Award goes to Siyu Heng (Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) and his collaborators Wendy P. O’Meara, Ryan A. Simmons, and Dylan A. Small for their paper, “Relationship between Changing Malaria Burden and Low Birth Weight in sub-Saharan Africa.

This study leverages geographic heterogeneity to determine the effect of reduced malaria burden on low-birth-weight rates across communities in 19 sub-Saharan African countries. Low birth weight is a serious health risk associated with cognitive and physical difficulties among children. This careful and cleverly designed study analyzes IPUMS DHS data from countries with at least two surveys and GPS data on survey cluster locations.  After using optimal matching to pair DHS Program survey clusters separated in time, the authors use a difference-in-difference approach to compare the incidence of low birth weight in areas that did and did not experience malaria decline. Results reveal a substantial decline in low birth weight resulting from declines in malaria prevalence, especially for first-born children.

Congratulations to these scholars on this impressive accomplishment!

IPUMS DHS is a system that makes it easy to find and review thousands of DHS survey variables and to download a single fully harmonized data file with only the variables and samples that interest you. IPUMS DHS currently includes variables from DHS survey samples from 32 African and 9 Asian countries; more samples are constantly being added.


Special thanks to our guest blog contributors, Elizabeth Boyle and Miriam King!

Elizabeth Heger Boyle is Professor of Sociology & Law at the University of Minnesota. She studies the role of international laws and policies on women and children’s health around the world. She has written extensively on the impetus for and impact of laws related to female genital cutting, including the book Female Genital Cutting: Cultural Conflict in the Global Community. Her current research focuses on abortion policies globally and their effects; this includes a 2015 article in the American Journal of Sociology. Professor Boyle is currently co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. Miriam King) on IPUMS DHS, a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant that integrates Demographic and Health Surveys over time and across countries to make them more user-friendly for researchers. Professor Boyle has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa.

Miriam L. King is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation at the University of Minnesota.  She has managed data integration projects on the U.S. Current Population Survey, the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, and, most recently, the Demographic and Health Surveys.  Her research has focused on the history of the U.S. census, data integration methods, U.S. historical fertility differences, living arrangements, and disparities in access to insurance for same-sex couples.  Dr. King has a Ph.D. jointly in Demography and History from the University of Pennsylvania.

21 Apr 2021

Learn How to Use The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub

The DHS Program recently released three YouTube tutorial videos to help DHS data users access The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub. The Code Share Library was started in 2018 to provide code for producing DHS indicators listed in the Guide to DHS Statistics using statistical software like Stata or SPSS. This year, The DHS Program has begun preparing R code as well. You do not need to create a GitHub account to copy or download any code to produce DHS indicators; it is publicly available for use.

The first video, Overview of The DHS Program’s Code Share Library on GitHub, explains the main components of the Code Share Library, including Stata and SPSS repositories, the indicator list, ReadMe file, and chapter folder contents. In each repository on GitHub, there is an important ReadMe file with instructions for users to read before using the code provided.

The second tutorial video, Preparing to Run The DHS Program’s Shared Code in Stata, demonstrates how to prepare to run code to produce DHS indicators in the statistical software Stata using the model datasets. The model datasets were created strictly for practice and do not represent any country’s actual data. Unlike datasets for specific surveys, users do NOT need to register to download model datasets.

One way to start using the Code Share Library is to download the entire repository on your computer. If any update is made to the code in the future, you will need to download the updated code from the Code Share Library. Another way to run the code is to copy and paste the code for your indicator of interest from GitHub to your own personal do file, without having to download the entire repository.

The third video, Running The DHS Program’s Shared Code on Stata, demonstrates how to run the code in Stata to construct indicator variables and produce tables for the indicators. The tables provide a simple tabulation that follows the standard DHS tabulation plan used for survey final reports.

If you do not understand why an indicator was coded in a specific way, check the Guide to DHS Statistics. If you have further questions, email us at codeshare@dhsprogram.com or post your question on The DHS Program User Forum. Follow The DHS Program on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the latest news about code updates (including forthcoming R code), survey dataset releases, and more. Happy coding!

04 Aug 2020

World Breastfeeding Week 2020

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 the Role 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.  


Featured image: © 2007 Virginia Lamprecht, Courtesy of Photoshare

07 Jul 2020

World Population Day 2020

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.

Pro tip: Use STATcompiler to explore indicators and find the answers to the population day quiz!

27 May 2020

Service Provision Assessments Shed Light on Health Facility Readiness to Control COVID-19

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.

Access SPA survey final reports here.


Featured Image © YoPho, stock.adobe.com

03 Apr 2020

Data Should Drive COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries

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.

Handwashing:

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.

Explore these data in STATcompiler

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.

COVID tags

Select indicators and explore two new COVID tags in STATcompiler.com.

Access to Information:

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.

Conclusion:

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.


17 Mar 2020

DHS Data Users: Ibrahima Gaye, Institute of Health and Development

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 l’EDS ;
  • 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 ?

En novembre 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 :

Discussion des intervalles de confiance. © ICF

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 ?

Je suis 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.


Un rapport a été produit à partir des analyses des participants. Lisez le, Tendances des indicateurs du paludisme au Bénin : Résultats d’un atelier de l’utilisation des données des Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé.


Écrit par : Ibrahima Gaye

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.


Featured image caption: © ICF

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