Category Archives: SDGs

08 Mar 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

© 2016 Kato James, Courtesy of Photoshare

The DHS Program is now in its 35th year with a long history of helping to collect, analyze, and disseminate data on women’s empowerment, gender equality, men’s engagement, and gender-based violence within the context of health and development. Historically, The DHS Program has integrated attention to gender in all its activities and aspects of its operations, from the types of data collected and disaggregated and analyses conducted, and the “how” and the “who” of data collection, capacity strengthening, dissemination, and use.

Over the coming five years, The DHS Program will continue its cross-cutting approach to gender integration into its work and surveys. In particular, The Program will endeavor to help achieve the agency-wide commitments mandated by USAID’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. The DHS Program supports USAID’s objectives and has adopted an updated Gender Integration Strategy with the following priorities:

  1. Continued collection of high-quality data for gender indicators and sex disaggregation: The project will continue to contribute to evidence-based, gender-integrated health programming by providing the data necessary for understanding gender disparities related to health, including disparities in wealth, access to resources, and decision making power. Similarly, it will continue to collect data on domestic violence; early marriage and skewed sex ratio; household headship; women’s relative earnings and control of their earnings; women’s ownership of a house, of land of a bank account, and of a mobile phone; as well as female genital cutting and fistula.

    The DHS Program will monitor and respond to emerging needs for gender data important for women’s health and demographic behavior. The DHS Program is soliciting public feedback through March 15, 2019, on potential new areas/indicators/questions, including on the measurement of gender equality, male engagement, women’s empowerment, decision making, and domestic violence. This feedback will help identify some of the current gender-related data gaps.

  2. Increased focus of dissemination efforts to highlight gender disparities in health and resource and opportunity access: Data collected on gender and women’s empowerment are widely disseminated using digital, print, and other means. Most indicators are readily available on the STATcompiler, The DHS Program’s Mobile App, and the DHS API. The DHS Program website also maintains a “Gender” topic page, which provides a one-stop shop for gender indicators from DHS surveys.
  3. Enabling gender equality in access to opportunities, capabilities, learning, and resources: The DHS Program will continue its efforts to ensure that there is no discrimination by sex, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, or gender identity in access to opportunities for training, employment, and learning all along the survey continuum.
  4. By maintaining confidentiality and gender-sensitive protections. The DHS Program has strict ethical guidelines to protect respondents and interviewers and ensure confidentiality of respondents, their families, and of the data. While these guidelines apply to all respondents, they also specifically recognize the need for special protections for women in certain circumstances.
  5. By exploring technologies to ask highly sensitive questions: Several of the questions asked in DHS surveys are highly sensitive. While some of these sensitive questions are asked of both women and men, such as number of sexual partners, some others are mainly asked of women, including questions on experience of sexual violence. Improving the validity of responses to these questions remains a challenge for any survey program, and it is important to look for ways to both improve reporting and also provide respondents with a more secure platform to disclose sensitive information, such as audio computer assisted self-interviewing (ACASI).
  6. By continuing to integrate gender into the research agenda: The DHS Program’s research agenda continues to include innovative studies that shed light on the linkages between gender and health. The DHS Program will undertake many new research projects that will contribute to a better understanding of the level and changes in women’s empowerment and the interface between gender and health outcomes as well as gender disparities in health, while also applying a gender lens to analyses that do not directly involve gender indicators. In the meantime, read the latest gender analytical publications.

For International Women’s Day 2019, The DHS Program invites you to explore the wealth of gender-related resources and publications available at dhsprogram.com. Learn more about Sustainable Development Goal #5, Gender Equality indicators available in DHS surveys in the infographic below.

28 Feb 2019

Strengthening Nutrition Data Quality at The DHS Program

A health technician tests a child for anemia during a survey training. © 2018 ICF/Sorrel Namaste

“Everything bad can go wrong at collecting the sample, and you can’t get any good results from a bad sample. ” – Informant from the Enhancing Nutrition Data Quality Report

Data for decision-making is vital as countries work to reduce the burden of malnutrition and to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Nutrition Targets 2025.

The DHS Program, a leading source of nutrition data globally, has invigorated its focus on the quality and depth of the types of nutrition data collected. To this end, a qualitative study was undertaken to identify how to enhance the quality of nutrition data. Interviews were conducted with 50 experts internal and external to The DHS Program, and DHS staff participated in focus group discussions. Informants highlighted critical challenges that exist in collecting anemia, anthropometry, and infant and young child feeding data in large surveys while also offering solutions to strengthen data quality.

The outcomes from the study are summarized in the report “Enhancing Nutrition Data Quality in The DHS Program” which calls for the implementation of 32 recommendations. The DHS Program is already addressing most of these recommendations (21 out of the 32) and plans to take up additional recommendations throughout DHS-8. These include revising hemoglobin cutoffs in STATcompiler, working with the WHO to develop a technical error of measurement value for passing an anthropometry standardization exercise, and testing new indicators for real-time monitoring of fieldwork. Future blog posts will explore the application of these recommendations across the stages of a DHS survey.

Recommendations to enhance nutrition data quality were identified across The DHS Program survey stages. © 2018 ICF

The DHS Program is committed to continuous quality improvement and is uniquely positioned to implement new data quality measures. Yet, the report is not only intended to inform operations at The DHS Program. The lessons learned are applicable to wider audiences involved in the collection and use of nutrition data throughout the world. Strengthening the quality of nutrition data will lead to improved data-driven nutrition actions.


Written by Sorrel Namaste and Rukundo K. Benedict

Dr. Sorrel Namaste is the Senior Nutrition Technical Advisor for The DHS Program. She is an epidemiologist with expertise in nutrition assessment and implementation research. 

 

 

Dr. Rukundo K. Benedict is the Nutrition Technical Specialist for The DHS Program. She is a public health nutrition practitioner with expertise in infant and young child feeding (IYCF), water-sanitation hygiene (WASH), community health systems, and the delivery of integrated interventions in low-resource settings. 

21 Sep 2018

Global Goals Week 2018

This week marks the beginning of Global Goals Week, a week where the United Nations and partners come together to bring awareness to accelerate progress to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. The DHS Program collects data to calculate approximately 30 of the indicators supporting the SDGs. You can find the full list of DHS-related SDG indicators here.

The infographic below highlights three Global Goals using recent DHS data from Haiti, India, Timor-Leste, and Uganda:

Anyone can contribute to these goals by spreading the word. Share the infographic below, and don’t forget to stay connected by using #GlobalGoals throughout the week. Explore the indicators described in the infographic and more in one easy-to-read table using STATcompiler.

 

Click to share the infographic on Facebook
Click to retweet the infographic on Twitter

 

07 Aug 2018

World Breastfeeding Week 2018

World Breastfeeding Week, held annually from August 1-7, is a week where over 180 countries come together to promote and support breastfeeding. And although World Breastfeeding Week 2018 has come to a close, you can still take part in advocating for breastfeeding and its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with DHS data:

  • Use STATcompiler to discover and share the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for children under 6 months.
  • Use STATcompiler to discover what percent of children age 6-9 months are breastfeeding and consuming complementary foods.
  • Share and retweet the new World Breastfeeding Week 2018 infographic using DHS data from 5 recently released Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).

The DHS Program has collected breastfeeding data for over 30 years and has more than 50 breastfeeding indicators available in 80+ countries on STATcompiler. Continue to share DHS data on breastfeeding and stay connected for updates and resources!

Photo Credit: © 2012 Javier Arcenillas, Courtesy of Photoshare

11 Jan 2017

Measuring the SDGs: The Role of Household Surveys

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have replaced the Millennium Development Goals with broad and lofty aspirations ranging from health, education, and gender equality to clean energy and responsible consumption.

Sustainable Development GoalsBehind each Sustainable Development Goal is a series of targets and each target can be measured by one or more indicators. Many of the targets in the areas of good health, zero hunger, no poverty, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and reduced inequalities can be measured directly from DHS surveys. In fact, in many cases, this information has been collected as part of the DHS for decades, and indicator data already exist.

For example, the second SDG, “Zero Hunger,” is supported by 8 targets. One of these is: “By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons” (Target 2.2).

Target 2.2 of SDGs

This is where DHS comes in. DHS surveys have measured the height and weight of children under 5 since the 1980s. These measurements are compared to international reference standards to calculate stunting and wasting.Trends in Stunting in South Asia

As DHS data in the STATcompiler show, 4 countries in South Asia have made progress in reducing stunting since the 1990s, but stunting in this region is still unacceptably high. Future surveys will assess whether or not they can achieve a 40% reduction (the international target) by 2025.

Similarly, the SDG for Good Health and Well Being includes a target on reducing childhood mortality: “By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births” (Target 3.2).

Childhood mortality data have been collected as a standard part of DHS surveys since 1985. While neonatal and under-five mortality have declined in many DHS countries, the target of 25 under-five deaths for every 1,000 live births is still a long way off for many. In Tanzania, for example, under-five mortality has dropped steadily since 1999 but is not yet near the international target.

Under-five mortality in East Africa

Other SDG-supporting indicators currently collected in DHS surveys include access to safe water and improved toilet facilities, early marriage, family planning demand satisfied, antenatal care coverage, and birth registration. Others are not part of the DHS standard questionnaire but are often collected in optional modules, such as the maternal mortality ratio, female genital cutting, and violence against women.

In addition, new questions were added to the DHS questionnaire at the beginning of DHS-7 (2013-2018). The data resulting from these questions are starting to appear in DHS final reports and respond to SDG indicators such as clean cooking fuel, tobacco use, internet access, bank accounts, and mobile telephone ownership. A new DHS module on accidents and injuries will respond to the SDG indicator on road traffic accidents. A full list of the DHS-related SDG indicators can be found on the SDGs page of the DHS website.

Demand for Family Planning videoBut as always, collecting data is not enough. The DHS Program is also working to make the DHS-related SDGs easier to find, interpret, and use. This past year we released a video tutorial on the complicated “Demand for Family Planning Satisfied” indicator, and worked with partner Blue RasterDemand for Family Planning video to create an SDGs Story Map.

In the coming year, you will see a standard SDGs table for the final reports, addition of an SDGs tag to facilitate location of SDGs in the STATcompiler, and expansion of the SDGs page on our website.

Stay tuned as we develop these tools. And in the meantime, we’ll be out in the field, collecting the data the world needs to monitor progress towards sustainable development.

05 Oct 2016

Social Good Summit 2016: How DHS data can help measure progress towards meeting the Global Goals

We were fortunate to have attended the UN Foundation’s Social Good Summit again which, through a variety of vibrant speakers from US UN Ambassador Samantha Power to actor and activist Alec Baldwin, emphasized the recently-adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals.

While we thoroughly enjoyed all of the sessions and speakers, we were particularly moved listening to Joyce Banda on challenges for women in public office, advocates from the Malala Fund inspiring conversation about the importance of education for girls and refugees, and Memory Banda describing life for girls in Malawi and taking a stand against child marriage.

At this year’s summit, it was again made clear that the collection of quality data is vital. Data will measure progress towards the SDGs. As DHS data supported collection and reporting of data for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is expected to contribute to the measurement of as many as 13 of the 17 SDGs.

Since 2013, before the SDGs were officially determined and announced, The DHS Program was involved in dozens of meetings to determine the feasibility of collecting data required to measure SDG indicators in DHS surveys. After careful review of all 230 SDG indicators, we highlighted 86 that are population-based and feasible through household or facility surveys.  Of these, we have classified 32 that are already in our questionnaires and modules, and 20 that require minor additions or changes to questions and reporting. Below are just a few examples:

Goal 3: Proportion of women age 15-49 who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods. Learn more>>

Goal 5: Proportion of women age 15-49 who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use, and reproductive health care. Learn more>>

Goal 6: Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services. Learn more>>

Goal 7: Proportion of population with access to electricity. Learn more>>

Goal 16: Proportion of children under 5 whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age. Learn more>>

By the time the next summit rolls around, we hope to have integrated those indicators that are feasible and practical for collection in a DHS survey into all DHS tools. In the meantime, you can watch the 2016 Social Good Summit live stream and check out what we were saying during the summit.

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08 Oct 2015

Social Good Summit 2015: Celebrating the New Sustainable Development Goals

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It’s that time of year again! The end of September marked the UN General Assembly and the Social Good Summit, the latter of which we attended this year (read about our trip last year). We were witness to a remarkable group of speakers, including UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor Amina J. Mohammed, Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin, and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – just to name a few.

The Social Good Summit

Twesigye Kaguri (Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project), Waislitz Award Winner

We listened to compelling (and at times, heart-wrenching) stories about children, women and girls, and refugees, and heard appeals for gender equality, greater efforts for climate control, and improved funding for and access to education. We were also shown numerous examples of how technology has the potential to aid all of the above. This year’s summit was especially important and relevant to The DHS Program because of the recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015.

The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which guided poverty reduction, health, education, and equality initiatives from 2000 through 2015. The SDGs that follow aim not only to continue efforts, but to broaden them. Where there were 8 MDGs, there are 17 SDGs with 169 targets. The SDGs are “action oriented,” “universally applicable,” and “take into account different national realities, capacities, and levels of development,” building on the MDGs before them.

Social Good Summit

@DHSprogram (that’s us!) live-tweeting at the Social Good Summit.

The DHS Program supported the measurement of the MDGs initiatives, and our data currently include indicators that will contribute to the monitoring of several SDGs:

  • Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
    • DHS data look at many women’s status indicators, including female genital cutting, domestic violence, child marriage, and access to education and other resources.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
    • DHS surveys include data on household drinking water and sanitation facilities.

Throughout the summit, many speakers emphasized data’s key role in monitoring the SDGs and impact on social good:

“Data is at the heart of the SDG agenda.” — Ricardo Fuentes, Executive Director of Oxfam Mexico

“Data is the lifeblood of decision making & key component of SDGs.” — Haile Owusu, Chief Data Scientist at Mashable

“Let’s take data and make it useful for social good”. — Shamina Singh, Executive Director of MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth

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We strongly identify with Target 17.18 to “enhance capacity-building support to developing countries”, and to “increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable” disaggregated data. As always, the collection of DHS data is part of a capacity strengthening process. And while DHS surveys aren’t designed to capture all of the SDG targets or each detail, the skills learned through survey implementation – data collection, processing, analysis, and use – contribute to international capacity towards achieving these goals, thus enabling social good!

References:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/focussdgs.html

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