The DHS Fellows Program builds the long-term institutional capacity of universities in DHS countries to train students and faculty to analyze DHS data. Since 2011, the DHS Fellows Program has trained more than 150 researchers from over 40 universities in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Typically, Fellows attend two separate in-person workshops, prepare publication-quality research papers in teams using DHS datasets, and implement capacity strengthening activities at their home universities.
For the 2020 DHS Fellows Program, a cohort of university faculty from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Jordan, and Pakistan convened for the first workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2020. The second workshop, scheduled to begin in April 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DHS Program worked quickly to convert the second workshop into online activities. A remote teaching space was created on The DHS Program Learning Hub with presentations and assignments for the Fellows to complete. Virtual meetings were held with each Fellows team to discuss drafts of their working papers.
The 2020 DHS Fellows produced working papers that addressed a variety of research topics including:
As of this blog’s publication, the teams from Jordan and Cameroon have published their working papers in peer-reviewed journals. Visit The DHS Program Fellows page to see all DHS Fellows’ working papers and publications in peer-reviewed journals.
We interviewed teams of 2020 Fellows from the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh and the Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry in Guinea about the virtual DHS capacity strengthening activities conducted for faculty and students.
For their working paper, Nazmul Alam, Mohammad Manir Hossain Mollah, and Sharin Shajahan Naomi wrote about the prevalence and determinants of adolescent fertility. They conducted two virtual capacity strengthening sessions via Zoom, one for 21 faculty members, researchers, and development practitioners, and another session for 25 students. In the sessions, the Fellows introduced participants to The DHS Program, reviewed basic characteristics of DHS data, and highlighted how one can effectively generate new ideas from available DHS data without needing to conduct field research, which has become difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although we were a bit hesitant about the outcome of online sessions, they appeared to be beneficial…faculty members from social sciences, public health, and natural sciences joined…after the workshop, we got very positive feedback.”
Bienvenu Salim Camara, Sidikiba Sidibé, and Nafissatou Dioubate wrote about non-use of contraceptives among married women. Days before their planned capacity strengthening presentations, Guinea declared a health emergency due to COVID-19. Universities were closed and gatherings of more than 20 people were prohibited, so the Fellows recorded video presentations introducing The DHS Program survey questionnaires and datasets and uploaded them to Google drive. Students watched the videos at their own pace and emailed the Fellows with questions. Now some students are using DHS data in their research. “One of my students is currently working on his Master’s thesis in maternal health using DHS data, and I am supporting him in the data analysis,” explains Camara. Dioubate notes, “I am proud that I was able to pass on the knowledge gained from the DHS Fellows Program to others and show the opportunities that DHS data can offer.”
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.
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.
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.
World Immunization Week is observed annually in the last week of April (April 24-30, 2020), to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Already, nearly 20 million children in the world are unvaccinated and under-vaccinated. Now, COVID-19 is disrupting the delivery of routine vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. This year’s theme for World Immunization Week, #VaccinesWork for All, highlights the heroes who develop, deliver, and receive vaccines to protect the health of everyone, everywhere.
The DHS Program has collected immunization data for over 30 years and has dozens of vaccination indicators available for 90+ countries on STATcompiler. Use STATcompiler to explore a map of basic vaccination coverage among children age 12-23 months in 47 countries. Or explore vaccination rates by background characteristics, such as wealth quintile.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Coverage of the diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine (the percent of children age 12-23 months who have received the third dose of the vaccine) is one DHS survey indicator that tracks countries’ progress towards achieving SDG 3. Learn about coverage of the DPT 3 vaccination and all eight basic vaccinations from five recent DHS surveys in the infographic below.
Share this infographic on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to tag #VaccinesWork to engage with others in this global conversation!