The DHS Program provides training in geographic data collection, analysis, and mapping in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The trainings are customized to each country to build capacity in the following areas:
- Data schema formation and maintenance
- Geographic Information Systems concepts
- Open-source GIS skills
- Linking DHS data with other GIS datasets
- Creating maps for decision makers
In one week of hands-on training, the participants, including staff from Ministries of Health, Ministries of Planning, National AIDS Commissions, and National Statistics offices, acquire the skills to integrate multiple datasets and carry out their own exploratory geographic analysis of selected populations and health indicators. Participants also learn how to prepare maps of their findings for use in reports and presentations.
As a result of training in Tanzania and Kenya, participants are creating maps which overlay HIV prevalence rates with the location of various HIV-related service sites (i.e. VCT, PMTCT, ART) to assist planning, management, and evaluation of activities funded through PEPFAR and other development partners.
In addition, The DHS Program provides in-country technical assistance to set up GIS databases to support management, decision making processes, and M&E of health programs. One example is the Kenya Master Facility List (MFL), a collaboration between The DHS Program and the Ministry of Medical Services and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, and the Division of Health Information System. DHS provided technical assistance in the validation and consolidation of geocoded facilities as well as training related to the collection of GPS information.
GIS data at Work
Linked DHS and geographic data are now being used to meet a large variety of public health needs, including planning for HIV/AIDS and family planning programs and analysis of the effects of environment on early childhood mortality.