Survey Process

The DHS Survey process has four stages and can take up to 2.5 years.  A local implementing agency leads the survey, with technical assistance from The DHS Program. 
Survey Process Diagram
Stage 1, Survey design and Preparation, includes designing the sample and questionnaires and takes about six months.
Stage 2 of the survey process focuses on training interviewers and other key staff on their roles and collecting the data Fieldwork is carried out by a number of teams composed of female (and male) interviewers, female field editors and team leaders.This stage lasts four to six months.
Stage 3, data editing, data tabulation, and report writing, begins with data editing while Stage 2 is still in process and may continue for up to a year.
Stage 4 focuses on dissemination of the data and reports, data use and analysis, and lasts for six to seven months.
National Implementing Agency
As a general rule, the overall responsibility for executing a DHS resides with a single implementing agency. This agency can be any bona-fide governmental, non-governmental, or private-sector organization such as: a National Statistical Office, a Ministry of Health, a university, a government research group or a private research group.

National Statistical Offices are often selected because they usually are the source of the necessary sampling frame and because they frequently are the organization that has the most experience in the execution of surveys that are national in scope. Ministries of Health are usually the primary users of the information gathered through the survey. Involvement of Ministries of Health is becoming more important because of the increased health content of DHS surveys and the need to have access to specialized staff that can collect biological specimens such as blood samples.
The DHS Program Technical Assistance and Capacity Strengthening
The DHS Program staff provide technical assistance at critical stages of survey implementation in order to ensure that survey procedures are consistent with the technical standards set by DHS and to ensure that survey activities are progressing at a reasonable pace. Capacity strengthening is provided during visits to the country and throughout the whole survey process.
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