238593 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) research: Availability, accessibility, and policy implications

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:30 AM

Madeleine Short Fabic, MHS , Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington, DC
Yoonjoung Choi, DrPH , Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington, DC
Sandra Bird, MPH , Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington, DC
The Demographic and Health Survey program (DHS), funded primarily by United States Agency for International Development, has carried out over 260 internationally comparable household surveys in more than 80 countries since 1985. Originally begun as a nationally representative survey that focused on fertility, reproductive health, and child health, DHS has evolved to meet global health data needs. Today, it covers a wide range of topics in developing countries, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and gender-based violence. Through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of nationally representative data both comparable across countries and across time, DHS aims to provide data for evidence-based policies and programs.

For policies and programs to be evidence-based, robust research must be available, accessible, and ultimately used by policy makers. This study aims to assess trends in the use of DHS data in peer-reviewed public health literature since the mid-1980s, evaluating both the availability and accessibility of DHS research.

We conduct a descriptive analysis of the number, scope, and date of peer-reviewed articles that use DHS data based on keyword searches of PubMed. We then examine trends over time and by health topic area. We find that 1,160 peer-reviewed analyses of DHS data were published between 1986 and 2010 in more than 200 journals. Additionally, the number of analyses published per year has progressively increased, and the scope has expanded. We discuss the implications of increased research employing DHS data on health policies and programs, and conclude with considerations for the future direction of DHS research.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the trends of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data use in peer-reviewed public health literature. Discuss potential impact of the internationally comparable household survey in development of international health policies and programs.

Keywords: International Health, Statistics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work as technical advisor to the DHS project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.