Demographic and Health Surveys: Data Use

Source - Blake Zachary, The DHS Program/ICF International. Description - Field workers walking to a cluster in Ethiopia.

For thirty years, The DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys) Program has collected data on fertility, family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV, and malaria. This course will provide an overview of the DHS project so that program staff, policy makers, and researchers are better able to use the data to make evidence-based decisions.


By the end of the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify the different surveys in the The DHS Program and the topics they cover
  • Understand the steps in conducting a DHS survey
  • Recognize the advantages of a population-based, representative survey
  • Comprehend basic DHS tables, including understanding basic DHS terminology and identifying patterns in the data tables and figures
  • Understand the difference between DHS estimates of HIV prevalence and sentinel surveillance
  • Use DHS data to inform programs and policies
  • Use DHS online tools to access data and information


We would like to acknowledge and thank the following experts for reviewing the course:

  • Sarah Balian, The DHS Program
  • Jim Shelton, USAID
  • Madeleine Short, USAID
  • Laurie Liskin, The DHS Program
  • Shusmita Khan,  Eminence, Bangladesh
  • Sara Mazursky, JHU/CCP

We would also like express our appreciation to the following people for their help in developing the course:

  • Joy Fishel, The DHS Program
  • Abibata Handley, The DHS Program
  • Trevor Croft, The DHS Program


  • 2 hours


  • Friday, June 13, 2014

Course Authors: 

  • Erica Nybro, The DHS Program

Course Managers: 

  • Libby Skolnik, CCP
  • Nandini Jayarajan, CCP

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