The DHS Program: Global Health Data Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination

The Problem:

The recent Ebola and Zika epidemics have shown just how vital health sector data is in anticipating, monitoring, and responding to health threats. With varying levels of access to healthcare and limited health records in countries where it matters most, it is not an easy task to collect accurate health data across the world. Moreover, the health conditions of many low- and middle-income countries are evolving; and with this evolution, different data is needed across countries and regions. For example, a country in Sub-Saharan Africa is more likely to request data on maternal health and child nutrition; whereas, a country in Europe may be more interested in data on obesity or smoking habits. The challenges in the face of accurate and comprehensive health data collection, however, do not minimize its importance.

The Work:

The Demographic & Health Survey (DHS) Program has long featured the ability to respond adequately to changing data needs while ensuring data quality and accessibility. Currently finishing its seventh iteration (DHS MEASURE 7), The DHS Program is renowned for (1) providing technical assistance for quality household and facility-based data collection, analysis, dissemination, and use; (2) providing technical leadership to develop and adapt survey methodologies to meet existing and emerging data needs; and (3) actively encouraging data analysis and use through capacity strengthening activities, data visualization tool development and roll out, and online archiving of data and indicators for free public access and use. The data collected through The DHS Program provides necessary information for monitoring progress made towards achieving USAID’s three strategic global health priorities: (1) preventing child and maternal death; (2) controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic; and (3) combatting infectious disease.

Find out more about USAID’s The DHS Program.

The Vysnova Impact:

Vysnova Partners provides strategic technical assistance in support of The DHS Program. As a subcontractor to ICF International, Vysnova’s diverse staff pilots new methods of collecting data to improve timeliness, reliability, and policy relevance. Our staff supports survey design, data collection, data management, data analysis, evaluation, and other survey/research tasks in support of MEASURE 7, as we did in our involvement in the previous phase (MEASURE 6) of the Program.

Each survey designed by The DHS Program is tailored to the specific health, cultural, socio-economic, and political conditions of each country. Vysnova staff works hard to provide in-country technical assistance and uphold the standards of The DHS Program in order to have the maximum impact on improving the health conditions of the host countries.