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Guide to Using Datasets
Data Tabulation Plan

The Data Tabulation Plan provides model tables that set forth the major findings of a survey in a manner that will be useful to policy makers and program managers.  It also helps provide guidance concerning the most important indicators that should be presented in the survey report, the level of analysis expected, and ensures timely dissemination of survey results. Each type of survey conducted by The DHS Program (DHS, AIS, SPA), has an associated Data Tabulation Plan.

The data are presented in terms of national level statistics and for population subgroups such as those defined by age, education, marital status, economic status, urban/rural residence and region of the country.  When appropriate to a topic, further data disaggregation are shown.  For example, on the topic of HIV knowledge and behavior in the DHS surveys, detailed tabulations are shown for younger respondents age 15 to 24, and on the topic of gender roles, health outcomes are shown by indices of women’s status.

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Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Tabulation Plan

DHS surveys are nationally representative population-based surveys with large sample sizes (usually between 5,000 and 30,000 households). In all households, women age 15-49 are eligible to participate; in many surveys men age 15-54(59) from a sub-sample are also eligible to participate.

The Tabulation Plan for DHS Final Report complements the DHS phase VI (2008-13) versions of the DHS Model Survey Questionnaires.  Those survey instruments are substantially longer than previous model DHS Questionnaires, primarily because they incorporate topics formerly addressed in separate modules—topics such as malaria and HIV prevalence.

The Tabulation Plan for DHS Final Report consists of over 180 tables contained in 15 substantive chapters. These chapters provide information on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population, levels of fertility and childhood mortality, family planning, women’s status, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, to name some of the main topics. While the tables in the final survey report are not designed to provide complex analysis due to various constraints, it indicates areas where more detailed, complex analysis would be fruitful.

Main Topics in the DHS Tabulation Plan:

  • The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population:
    Information on these topics is provided in Chapters 1, 2, and 3. Chapter 1 is introductory and presents the background of the survey, its objectives, and a brief summary of the survey procedures, sample design and response rates.  Chapters 2 and 3 are intended to set the stage for the population and health chapters that follow. Chapter 2 describes the background characteristics of the household population, and their dwelling conditions. Chapter 3 contains tables describing eligible respondents and indicators of women’s status and their situation.
  • Marriage and sexual activity:
    Chapter 4 includes information on marriage patterns, age at first marriage and first sexual activity, and recent sexual activity.

  • Levels of fertility and fertility trends:
    The current and past fertility of the population are presented in Chapter 5. This chapter also includes information on fertility trends as well as on the beginning of a woman's childbearing, with tabulations on age at first birth and current teenage fertility behavior.
  • Fertility preferences:
    Chapter 6 covers fertility preferences and documents respondents' ideal number of children, fertility planning status, and wanted fertility rates.

  • Family planning:
    Chapter 7
    reports data on family planning, including knowledge of contraception, current use, discontinuation rates, source of supply, informed choice, unmet need for contraception, future use of contraception, exposure to family planning messages, and a variety of related topics.
  • Infant and child mortality:
    Information on the current and past levels of infant and child mortality as well as differentials in mortality by demographic and background characteristics is presented in Chapter 8. This chapter also includes information on perinatal mortality and the extra risk incurred by certain reproductive behaviors.
  • Reproductive health:
    Chapter 9 covers reproductive health and describes maternal care during pregnancy and delivery, and postnatal care.
  • Child health:
    Child health consists of many aspects including birth weight and size, immunization, and the extent and prevalence and treatment of important childhood diseases (diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and fever). This information is presented in Chapter 10.
  • Nutrition of children and adults:
    Chapter 11 covers nutritional concerns for children and for adults including measures of malnutrition, breastfeeding and complementary foods, food diversity, and micronutrients.
  • Malaria:
    Information on malaria is reported in surveys where malaria-related questions have been asked in the household and individual questionnaires. Chapter 12 presents this information. This chapter describes the availability and use of mosquito nets by women and children and the use of antimalarial drugs for prophylaxis and treatment.
  • HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, and HIV Prevalence:
    Chapter 13 covers information on knowledge and behavior concerning HIV/AIDS and other STIs and the use of condoms.  This chapter covers a number of important indicators for monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS prevention programs. These tables are based on multi-organization agreements and internationally accepted indicators. In many DHS surveys, HIV testing is performed on eligible respondents (women and men of reproductive age) at the household level. Chapter 14 presents the results based on respondents who received the test.  The chapter reports the response rate of testing and presents the HIV prevalence rates.
  • Women’s empowerment:
    Chapter 15 shows information on indicators of women’s empowerment, develops three empowerment indices, and relates those indices to select demographic and health outcomes.

AIDS Indicator Surveys (AIS) Tabulation Plan

The AIS surveys are nationally-representative population-based surveys usually conducted in a sample of about 3,000 households. In all households, women and men age 15-49 are eligible to participate in the survey.

The AIS Tabulation Plan consists of 83 tables that provide information on important indicators for effective monitoring of national HIV/AIDS programs.

Main Topics in the AIS Tabulation Plan:

  • The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population:
    Chapters 1, 2, and 3 provide extensive information on the demographic and socioeconomic background characteristics of the population. Chapter 1 presents the background of the survey, a brief summary of the survey procedures, sample design and response rates. Chapter 2 describes the background characteristics of the household population, and their dwelling conditions. Chapter 3 describes the background characteristics of the eligible respondents.
  • HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior:
    Chapters 4, 5, and 6 cover extensive information on knowledge, attitudes and behavior concerning HIV/AIDS. These chapters cover a number of HIV/AIDS important indicators for monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Tables in these chapters are based on multi-organization agreements and internationally accepted indicators.
  • Youth and HIV/AIDS:
    Information on HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and behavior among youth age 15-24 is very important for national HIV/AIDS programs. This information is presented in Chapter 7.
  • Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), care and support:
    Chapter 8 provides information on the prevalence of orphanhood and vulnerability of children, describes selected situational aspects of OVC and care and support received by households with OVC and chronically ill members.

The AIS Tabulation Plan for HIV Prevalence consists of 18 additional tables that provide information on HIV testing during the survey and HIV prevalence estimates of the population.

Service Provision Assessments (SPA) Tabulation Plan

SPA surveys are conducted in health facilities and communities to obtain information about the health and family planning services available in a country. Each SPA survey includes a nationally representative sample of over 400 facilities and covers all types of health services sites from hospitals to health posts. Public, private, and faith-based institutions are all represented.

There are two types of SPA surveys: the Maternal and Child Health SPA (also called SPA Core) and the HIV/AIDS SPA. The SPA Tabulation Plan for both these surveys consists of a number of tables that provide a comprehensive assessment of a country’s health care services.

Main Topics in the SPA Tabulation Plan:

  • Costs of health services
  • Availability of services
  • Infrastructure
  • Quality of care
  • Components of care
  • Data for Improvement