The DHS Fellows Program builds the long-term institutional capacity of universities in DHS Program 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.
The 2022 DHS Fellows Program will be conducted virtually and in English. Because the DHS Fellows Program will be virtual, this year’s call for applications is open to countries that have not been included in the DHS Fellows Program previously. Applications are accepted from university faculty members at universities in Angola, Benin, Burundi, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Guatemala, Haiti, Armenia, and Tajikistan. Teams of three members from the same university who teach and/or conduct research in demography, public health, economics, sociology, or other social sciences are encouraged to apply.
Read about how the 2020 DHS Fellows Program was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and adapted to be delivered virtually.
Visit The DHS Program Fellows page to see all DHS Fellows’ working papers and publications in peer-reviewed journals. The deadline to submit applications is November 21, 2021.
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 theRole 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.
The DHS Program’s analysis team uses DHS data to explore topics related to global health, demography, and social epidemiology. Since our last update, the analysis team has used DHS data to explore the following questions:
How have the sexual and reproductive health behaviors among young women age 15-24 in the Philippines changed over time? From 2008-2017, women’s correct knowledge of their fertile period decreased. Regions with relatively high levels of unions and fertility, but relatively low levels of contraceptive use and demand satisfied are identified in Trends of Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviors among Youth in the Philippines.
A series of Further Analysis reports uses DHS data to shed light on women’s empowerment in Pakistan:
Which factors influence early initiation of breastfeeding? Exploring DHS data from 31 countries with DHS surveys since 2015, Initiation of Breastfeeding in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Time-to-Event Analysis finds that the mean and median time to initiation of breastfeeding by hour is much greater for births delivered by Cesarean section, compared with births delivered vaginally. Immediate skin-to-skin contact and higher parity are significantly associated with shorter time to initiation.
A series of Further Analysis reports uses DHS data from surveys in Mali:
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.
Anthropometry measurement (height and weight) is a core component of DHS surveys that is used to generate indicators on nutritional status. The Biomarker Questionnaire now includes questions on clothing and hairstyle interference on measurements for both women and children for improved interpretation.