Category Archives: Learning Hub

14 Sep 2021

New Online Course: DHS Dataset Users

The DHS Program has added a new open course to the roster of courses on the Learning Hub available for free with a simple registration. DHS Dataset Users is a course for anyone interested in using DHS data in research and analysis related to demography, public health, economics, sociology, or other social sciences. This course will help learners understand and begin to use DHS data for analysis.

In the DHS Dataset Users course, participants will learn:

  • To recognize different types of datasets that are a part of DHS surveys
  • How DHS survey samples are selected and designed to be nationally representative
  • How to open DHS datasets, find variables of interest, and perform descriptive analyses
  • To create Stata do files to make DHS data analysis quicker, easier, and more replicable

To complete all activities in this course and earn a certificate, participants must have any version of the statistical software package Stata. Learn on your own schedule and expect to spend 3-6 hours to complete the DHS Dataset Users course.

Practice new skills using standardized DHS model datasets and earn a certificate upon completion of the course that can be printed or shared on social media. To register and access the DHS Dataset Users course, click the button below, create a new Learning Hub account, and prepare to use DHS data!


Featured image by © elenabsl, stock.adobe.com

01 Feb 2021

New Online Course: Health Data Mapping Online Course

The DHS Program is hosting another Health Data Mapping online course on The DHS Program Learning Hub. The 12-week course focuses on the application of geographic information systems (GIS) in public health, specifically using maps for better program and policy decision making. Participants will be introduced to GIS concepts, manage and clean data in Microsoft Excel, and get a hands-on introduction to QGIS, an open-source GIS software package.

This course is for people who:

  • Have little to no GIS experience, but have an interest in learning QGIS and strong data skills.
  • Live and work in a West African country (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo).
  • Have at least an undergraduate degree in public health, demography, statistics, monitoring & evaluation, or a related subject, and basic training in statistics.
  • Currently work for government ministries, development partners, NGOs, or universities in the field of public health.
  • Can understand and communicate in English—the course will be conducted in English and participants will be expected to give presentations in English.
  • Have experience using Excel and have a computer that can run the latest stable release of QGIS.

The Health Data Mapping online course begins April 12 and ends July 3, 2021. Participants can expect to spend two to four hours a week working independently on self-paced lessons and completing assignments. Course facilitators will give feedback on assignments and answer questions on the course discussion forum and during periodic instructor-led virtual sessions.

The Health Data Mapping online course is ideal for those interested in learning about GIS to improve evidence-based decision making. Explore mapmaking and data analysis resources at The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository, STATcompiler, Spatial Analysis Reports, and video tutorials.

Apply now: the deadline is Monday, February 15, 2021.

16 Dec 2020

New Online Course: Introduction to the Demographic and Health Surveys

  • What are the 3 objectives of The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program?
  • How many months does a standard DHS survey take, from design to data dissemination?
  • How many questionnaires are used in a standard DHS survey?

Have you ever wondered about the questions above? There is always something new to learn about Demographic and Health Surveys! Even the most experienced survey implementers and researchers will discover something they did not know in our new 30-minute introductory course. The newest addition to The DHS Program Learning Hub is a short and engaging orientation of The DHS Program. The course covers the main objectives of the survey, key terms, survey types and topics, and the survey process.  

This introductory course is available for free to anyone. To access the course, you must complete a short registration form. The course can be taken independently and will also be a pre-requisite for other courses offered on The DHS Program Learning Hub.


An animated video from the course showcases the DHS survey process and is also available on our YouTube channel.

18 Nov 2020

The DHS Program Geospatial Team Celebrates GIS Day

November 18, 2020, is GIS Day, a day to celebrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and their application to DHS data. This GIS Day, we highlight recent work from The DHS Program Geospatial team.

Highlighting Subnational Inequalities That May Hinder COVID-19 Mitigation

The Geospatial team produced a story map using DHS spatial data on handwashing and the average number of people per sleeping room in some countries in Africa and Asia to illuminate subnational variations and inform COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

Health Data Mapping Workshop Facilitated Virtually

In February 2020, The DHS Program released a call for applications for a Health Data Mapping regional workshop, to be held in Hyderabad, Telangana, India in May. When this workshop was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Geospatial team quickly pivoted and developed an online course with the same basic objectives. A new call for applications was launched targeting countries in East Africa. Of 175 applicants, 25 were selected according to established criteria, including 15 men and 10 women.

The redesigned course, a semi-synchronous workshop, was conducted from July to September and included self-paced eLearning and instructor-led virtual sessions. Each week, participants completed readings, videos, and assignments. Participants acquired knowledge on data cleaning, converting GPS data in Excel, and joining data in QGIS, an open-source GIS software package. For their capstone assignment, participants created and presented maps using data from DHS surveys.

The DHS Program periodically hosts virtual instructor-led courses like Health Data Mapping on The DHS Program Learning Hub. For future offerings of the Health Data Mapping and other courses, check The DHS Program website for calls for applications.

Two Spatial Analysis Reports Published

Predicting HIV/AIDS at Subnational Levels using DHS Covariates related to HIV uses GPS data collected in DHS surveys to produce spatially interpolated maps to predict indicator values at non-surveyed locations. This report produces fine spatial and lower level estimates of HIV prevalence for seven Global Fund-supported countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A multi-task Gaussian process is used to leverage HIV prevalence data collected in DHS surveys along with HIV-related indicators such as sexually transmitted infection (STI), condom use, and sex partners. The model produces estimates of HIV prevalence along with uncertainty at the second subnational administrative level (ADMIN 2) where health programs are designed and implemented. This geospatial modeling approach was first described in Interpolation of DHS Survey Data at Subnational Administrative Level 2, and summarized in a previous blog post.

Geospatial Covariates: Proxies for Mapping Urban-Related Indicators uses DHS data from three East African countries to explore what makes an enumeration area rural or urban. The DHS Program does not define urbanicity; countries determine official urban and rural classifications themselves. This can impair comparative analyses of the relationship between urbanicity and health outcomes. In this Spatial Analysis Report, researchers sought to determine if geospatial covariates of urbanicity, including intensity of nightlights and travel times to hospitals, can predict urban-correlated health and demographic indicators from DHS surveys.

Spatial Anonymization in Public-Use Household Survey Datasets

The DHS Program Geospatial team is responsible for displacing cluster location data for all DHS surveys to maintain the confidentiality of DHS survey respondents. This anonymized spatial data is publicly available on The DHS Program Spatial Data Repository to meet research needs. The DHS Program Geospatial team is collaborating with other institutions, such as the World Bank and the United Nations to develop a forthcoming set of guidelines on spatial anonymization of public use microdata.

28 Oct 2020

Adapting to the New Reality: Data Processing Goes Virtual

In March 2020, The DHS Program released a call for applications for the 2020 DHS Data Processing Procedures – Data Tabulation and Data Finalization (DPPII) workshop, to be held in Accra, Ghana in June. The DPPII workshop includes online pre-work and face-to-face instruction. DHS Program Data Processing staff members assist participants through one-on-one coaching, and participants gain proficiency through hands-on practice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this in-person workshop was canceled.

The DHS Program’s Data Processing team worked with the Capacity Strengthening team to adapt the DPPII workshop to an online course focused on data tabulation. The course was delivered on The DHS Program Learning Hub and included self-paced modules with readings, videos, and activities, as well as updated CSPro manuals. These up-to-date materials will be used in future data processing courses and workshops, plus trainings for new Data Processing staff at The DHS Program.

Blended learning journey of the virtual DPPII course

The restructured DPPII course is semi-synchronous, including eLearning modules and assignments that participants work through independently. The course also includes four virtual instructor-led sessions, in which participants and DHS Program facilitators login to the same virtual learning space to learn new content, watch presentations, ask and address questions, and receive feedback on assignments in real-time. For their capstone assignment, participants recreate a standard DHS table using CSPro by defining their own variables and data.

Staff from implementing agencies in countries with ongoing DHS surveys are targeted for participation in the DPPII workshop, as participants build competencies required to process DHS data and produce country-specific tables found in DHS final reports. For this first-ever virtual DPPII course, participants included five women and fourteen men from eight Anglophone countries which recently implemented a DHS survey: the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia.

What Participants Say

“I’m glad to have been part of this training. [It gave me a] better understanding of the use of DHS data, generation of DHS recode and tables. I hope to practice my new skills with the country-specific tables.”

“Attending training and combining with other duties from work was not helpful but I will take time and continue reading and finish all as they are clear and useful.”

Converting face-to-face workshops to virtual learning sessions comes with challenges. It can be difficult for participants to balance coursework with work and other responsibilities, which is not an issue with in-person residential workshops. Throughout the virtual DPPII training, it became clear that more one-on-one instruction time was needed. To address this, facilitators began holding optional office hours. These and other lessons learned about virtual facilitation will be applied to future online courses, remote technical assistance, and webinars.

Interested in learning more about capacity strengthening opportunities at The DHS Program? The DHS Program periodically makes Workshop and Training Announcements for upcoming training opportunities.


Featured image: © ST.art, stock.adobe.com

22 Apr 2020

New on the Learning Hub: Interpreting Malaria Trends eLearning Course

In honor of World Malaria Day, The DHS Program introduces a new open-access online course, Interpreting Trends in Malaria Indicators. The course is available on The DHS Program’s new online learning platform, the Learning Hub.

Based on an in-person Malaria Indicator Trends Workshop developed by The DHS Program in 2017, this free, self-guided course takes 2-3 hours to complete. This course is designed for malaria data users, such as professionals from National Malarial Control Programs, Ministries of Health, implementing and collaborating agencies, donor agencies, and anyone who works in malaria programming or is interested in malaria data.

The purpose of this course is to increase the capacity of participants to understand and interpret trends in malaria indicators from population-based household surveys to answer key malaria programmatic questions.

In Interpreting Trends in Malaria Indicators, participants will learn:

  • Sampling and weighting techniques used by The DHS Program
  • How sampling errors are displayed in DHS final reports
  • To accurately interpret a malaria case study for programmatic decision making
  • To generate graphics of malaria trends using Excel

To take this course, create an account on The DHS Program Learning Hub. It’s free; just choose a username and password. Then register for the course and start learning!

This new course on malaria trends complements existing malaria resources offered by The DHS Program, including another free, self-guided course, Measuring Malaria through Household Surveys, available on the Global Health eLearning Center platform in English and French. Measuring Malaria takes 2-3 hours to complete and provides an overview of key malaria indicators collected through household surveys. Since Measuring Malaria covers data collection, calculation, and interpretation of key malaria indicators, taking it first can lay a strong foundation before taking Interpreting Trends in Malaria Indicators.

For World Malaria Day, explore malaria indicators using The DHS Program’s malaria mini-tool and read the newly revised Malaria Indicator Survey questionnaires. Or use STATcompiler to visualize key malaria indicators globally such as household ownership and use of insecticide-treated nets.

Featured image: © ICF

17 Apr 2020

Introducing The DHS Program Learning Hub

As the world responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, The DHS Program remains committed to promoting the use of DHS data. As many DHS data users transition to distance teaching and learning, do not forget about existing capacity strengthening resources available through The DHS Program to close statistical skills gaps.


The DHS Program is pleased to announce The DHS Program Learning Hub, a virtual learning and collaboration space, at learning.dhsprogram.com. The Learning Hub offers a solution to make learning opportunities more widely available with online courses, either standalone or as part of The DHS Program workshops.

What types of courses are found on the Learning Hub?

All courses on the Learning Hub are asynchronous, meaning learners engage on their own time, from any time zone. Course formats vary.

Self-guided: Anyone can enroll in these open-access online courses, which can be taken any time, at your own pace. Currently, The DHS Program is offering Interpreting Trends in Malaria Indicators as a self-guided course. Learn about Malaria Indicator Surveys, key malaria indicators, and how to interpret trends in data to answer malaria programmatic questions. This course takes 2-3 hours to complete. Just create an account on the Learning Hub, enroll in the course, and start learning!

Blended: All DHS Program regional workshops (such as Data Mapping and Data Processing Procedures) have both online and in-person components in tailored combinations. Participants complete pre-work assignments online before meeting in-person for a capacity strengthening workshop. This helps ensure that all participants have the same foundation and are equally ready to maximize their time together in-person. The DHS Fellows Program is another example of a blended course. For all DHS Program workshops, participants go through a rigorous application process.

The 2020 DHS Fellows completed online assignments before an in-person workshop in Kenya, February/March 2020. They will continue collaborating virtually throughout the year. © ICF

Instructor-led: These courses are 100% online, time-bound, and led by an instructor, usually a staff member of The DHS Program, who is available to assist participants and answer their questions. Learners must apply to instructor-led courses, as space is limited. Applications are reviewed by The DHS Program staff to ensure course participants have the required knowledge and skills. A proportion of applicants are formally accepted to the course. The Survey Sampling Training Course, for instance, equips participants with the knowledge, tools, skills, and abilities to design samples for population surveys, such as DHS surveys. Participants in the Survey Sampling course spend an average of 5-10 hours a week for 8 weeks engaging with modules, completing coursework, and interacting with their peers and instructor(s) in a discussion forum. The call for applications for the first Survey Sampling Training Course to be offered en français will be available soon.

All courses on The DHS Program Learning Hub include interactive modules, videos, and links to further reading and useful resources. Courses and associated resources remain available to participants even after they complete the course or the course ends.

More courses on different topics related to household surveys are in development now. Check The DHS Program’s capacity strengthening page and the Learning Hub for announcements regarding upcoming courses and calls for applications.

Follow The DHS Program on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for updates on capacity strengthening opportunities and more!


Featured image caption: © ICF

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