Category Archives: User Forum

30 Mar 2016

Model Datasets to the Rescue

Have you ever wanted to start immediately working on a DHS dataset, but didn’t have a research topic? Or didn’t want to take the time to register for access? Well, The DHS Program now has the cure for all your data analysis woes!

The DHS Program has created model datasets so users can become familiar with datasets without having to register for access. These datasets have been created strictly for practice and do not represent any country’s actual data. Model datasets are based on the DHS 6 Questionnaire and Recode. They include data on all standard survey characteristics, as well as data on domestic violence, female genital cutting, adult and maternal mortality, and child labor.

You might be thinking, how can I use these datasets? Model datasets can be used for many different purposes, including:

  • Replicating standard final report tables
  • Practicing calculating complex indicators
  • Teaching statistical concepts and procedures

Team members from Nigeria participating in the 2016 Regional DHS/MIS Malaria Analysis Workshop

Recently, the model datasets were used in the 2016 Regional DHS/MIS Malaria Analysis Workshops in Uganda and Senegal. Since participants attending the workshop came from different countries with different DHS/MIS datasets, the curriculum and workshop exercises were standardized using the model datasets. After going through the model dataset examples, participants then worked with their country’s specific data to match numbers in the final report. This was a great way for facilitators to make sure everyone was mastering the skill before participants worked on their own country’s data.

Model datasets have already had a starring role in our sampling and weighting tutorial videos. Future videos will also feature the model datasets, allowing users to follow along with the examples in the tutorial with their own statistical program.

Visit the Model Datasets page on The DHS Program website for more information. Users can pick and choose which data files to download, as well as download the full set of final report tables and sampling errors to check their work. Again, unlike datasets for specific surveys, users do not need to register in order to gain access.

If you have recently used the model datasets we want to hear from you! Comment below or email modeldatasets@dhsprogram.com to share your experiences with the model datasets or how you plan on using them in the future. You can also post questions about the model datasets on the User Forum.

22 Jul 2015

Linking DHS Data with Health Facility Data: Opportunities and Challenges

For 30 years, The DHS Program has asked women hundreds of questions about their utilization of various health care services, including family planning, antenatal and delivery care, vaccination and treatment of sick children, malaria treatment, and HIV prevention and treatment. In 1999, The DHS Program started collecting facility-level data through the Service Provision Assessment (SPA) survey. The SPA interviews providers and clients, takes stock of facility supplies and equipment, and observes provider-client consultations.  

© Ibou GUISSE/ANSD

© Ibou GUISSE/ANSD

Many people hoped that the two datasets would be easy to link for a deeper understanding of how people access services, the quality of services, and the association between access to services and health outcomes in a given country.  And because most recent DHS and SPA surveys are geo-coded (DHS since 2000 and SPA since 2009), that is, clusters and facilities are identified with their latitude and longitude, linking the data through a geographic information system should be easy, right?

Several studies have looked at using geospatial analysis to link DHS and SPA data to answer these larger questions about access to and utilization of health care services.  There are several challenges to this type of linkage. A major concern is sampling: the DHS and SPA surveys have different sampling frames and are rarely conducted in the same year. Most SPAs are samples of the health care facilities in the country, not a census. Many individuals surveyed in a DHS likely visit some of the health facilities that were not selected for the SPA. So just because a woman’s cluster is closest to a certain facility included in the SPA does not mean that that is the facility the woman visits.

CaseSTudy_figure_CropIn addition, to protect the identity of respondents, the GPS locations of DHS cluster points are geo-masked. In densely populated areas, this means that clusters may be moved away from their closest health facilities, making linkage based on geographic location less accurate. There’s also a practical concern: the DHS does not ask where individuals receive health care but rather only the type of facility where they sought care. While some people probably use their closest health facility, this is not always the case.  People may choose health facilities based on quality, specialty, cost, or anonymity, not just proximity.

SAR10Despite the challenges there have been several successful analyses linking DHS and SPA data, and program managers and researchers continue to explore the best use cases for DHS-SPA linkage.  This will be the topic of our upcoming DHS webinar on July 28th, “Considerations when Linking DHS Household Data to Data on Health Facilities and Infrastructure.”  Clara Burgert, The DHS Program’s GIS Coordinator and author of the recently released Spatial Analysis Report “Linking DHS Household and SPA Facility Surveys: Data Considerations and Geospatial Methods”  will be making a presentation on the DHS-SPA linkage opportunities and challenges.  Interested participants can register for the webinar here, and are encouraged to read SAR10 and post discussion questions for Clara and her co-authors on The DHS Program User Forum here.

Update: This webinar event has ended. Please visit this feed on The DHS Program User Forum for the presentation, discussion, and additional resources.

20 May 2015

Your Questions on Weighting Answered: The DHS Program User Forum and Webinar

webinar_experts

The DHS Program regularly gets questions from users about sampling and weighting. “How do I apply sample weights in multilevel analyses?” or “What is the difference between self weighting data and non-self weighting data?” On June 3, 2015, three DHS experts will answer users’ questions on “Weights and other adjustments for the survey design” in our first ever live webinar. Drs. Tom Pullum, Ruilin Ren, and Mahmoud Elkasabi will be discussing common questions about sampling and weighting in DHS data collection and analysis.

Launched in 2013, The DHS Program User Forum was created to provide a transparent discussion platform for users of DHS data to ask questions and receive feedback from the broader community and DHS Program staff. To date, more than 1,700 users have registered on the user forum and posted over 3,000 messages. To quote one registered user:

“The forum is helping millions of DHS data users around the world to understand data and sort data management issues. I personally managed to merge DHS data with the help of the forum contributor.”

MemUser Forum Screen shotbers can post questions in dozens of threads in three main categories: Topics (i.e. child health, mortality, and wealth index), Countries (India and Bangladesh are currently  the most active), or Data (merging, sampling and weighting, geographic data, dataset use
in Stata and SPSS). While we encourage users to answer each other’s questions, The DHS Program staff  members do moderate the forum and provide answers when others do not. But increasingly, members are often able to find the answer to their question simply by searching the 3,000+ messages that are already in the forum. Registered users say:

“I’m likely to post again to the User Forum because, when I post not only do I get a quick and helpful answer, but also it lets me see what other users have posted and been given as answers, which opens my eyes and mind to other future research.”

Participate in the User Forum and the Webinar on June 3, 2015
To post a question on weighting for the webinar, simply visit the User Forum thread “Sampling and Weighting Webinar June 2015.” Then, on June 3, 2015, at 10am EST (UTC/GMT-4) join us live in our Adobe Connect room. A recording of the webinar will be available on the User Forum for those who cannot participate live, and a summary of the questions and answers will also be entered into the User Forum as individual messages for future reference.

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

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