|A systematic review of Demographic and Health surveys: data availability and utilization for research|
||Madeleine Short Fabic, YoonJoung Choi & Sandra Bird
||Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Article ID: BLT.11.095513
More than one region
Objective To systematically review the public health literature to assess trends in the
use of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for research from 1984 through
2010 and to describe the relationship between data availability and data utilization.
Methods The MEASURE DHS web site was searched for information on all
population-based surveys completed under the DHS project between 1984 and 2010.
The information collected included the country, type of survey, survey design, fieldwork
period and certain special features, such as inclusion of biomarkers. A search of
PubMed was also conducted to identify peer-reviewed articles published through 2010
that analysed DHS data and included an English-language abstract. Trends in data
availability and in the use of DHS data for research were assessed through descriptive,
graphical and bivariate linear regression analyses.
Findings In total, 236 household surveys under the DHS project were completed
across 84 countries through 2010. The number of surveys per year has remained
constant, although the scope of the survey questions has expanded. The inclusion
criteria were met by 1117 peer-reviewed publications. The number of publications has
increased progressively over the last quarter century, with an average annual increment
of 4.3 (95% confidence interval, CI: 3.2–5.3) publications. Trends in the number of peerreviewed
publications based on the use of DHS data were highly correlated with trends
in funding for health by the Government of the United States of America and globally.
Conclusion Published peer-reviewed articles analysing DHS data, which have
increased progressively in number over the last quarter century, have made a
substantial contribution to the public health evidence base in developing countries.