COVID-19 Update: Some DHS surveys return to the field; others postponed until 2021
After a several-months pause in field activities, some DHS Program surveys will return to data collection, while others have postponed all activities until 2021. Many new DHS Program surveys are tentatively moving ahead with survey and questionnaire design, in the hopes that fieldwork will be possible later in 2020 or early 2021. The DHS Program staff based in Rockville, Maryland USA are supporting these activities remotely with the support of excellent partners and consultants in our survey countries.
A summary of the status of current DHS Program surveys is presented below. This list is current as of September 1, 2020, but it should be noted that the security and feasibility of conducting fieldwork is reassessed continuously. While all of us at The DHS Program are eager to return to face-to-face household survey work on the ground, the safety of our staff, our field teams, and respondent communities is our first priority.
The Rwanda DHS returned to fieldwork in June after a 3 month pause. Fieldwork was completed in mid-July, and response rates were very high, at least in part due to the fact that so many Rwandans were staying at home following COVID-19 social distancing guidance.
Approximately half of the fieldwork for the Gabon DHS had been completed at the time of lockdown in March. Data collection teams are scheduled to return to the field in later this year if restrictions are lifted.
The DHS survey in Madagascar had just begun main fieldwork in March when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country. Fieldwork was halted; very little data had been collected, and so a repeat main training will be conducted in January 2021 and teams will subsequently head out to conduct the survey anew.
In Liberia, the DHS survey was completed in February 2020. However, follow-on biomarker teams were in the field collecting venous blood samples. These follow-on teams are exploring possibilities to resume fieldwork in the coming months. The venous blood samples will be tested for Hepatitis B and C and Ebola antibodies.
Surveys in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Angola, Ethiopia (DHS and SPA), Kenya (MIS), and Nepal (SPA) are preparing to start fieldwork in late 2020 or early 2021.
A pilot of the new DHS-8 questionnaires is also scheduled to begin in Uganda in October 2020.
Survey Activities Postponed until 2021:
Because the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) is timed around peak malaria transmission season, multiple MIS have been officially postponed for a full year, including the Cameroon MIS, Guinea MIS, Mali MIS, Niger MIS, and Nigeria MIS. Several DHS surveys have also either been entirely postponed or their fieldwork has been postponed until 2021, including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
New DHS COVID-19 website hub now available:
We have launched a new COVID-19 topic page on our website to provide easy access to all COVID-19 related resources including:
- Featured data tools, such as STATcompiler and story maps
- Access to COVID-19 related SPA data
- Peer-reviewed journal articles about COVID-19 featuring DHS data
- News coverage: how DHS data are being used worldwide to understand the COVID crisis
- Press releases and blogs
Visit for regular updates: https://dhsprogram.com/topics/covid-19.cfm