Recent analyses have explored the relationship between HIV prevalence and wealth, debunking the myth that HIV is more common in the poorest communities. Conversely, HIV prevalence in many DHS countries is highest among the wealthiest women and men.
DHS analysis also informs international birth spacing guidelines. DHS infant mortality data have led to the adjusted recommendation that birth spacing of three to five years is ideal for minimizing childhood mortality.
Research using DHS data, both comparative research for multiple countries and country-specific further analyses, is a key component of The DHS Program. The research is conducted by DHS staff and by collaborating researchers and institutions and is typically published in the form of analytical studies, comparative reports, trend reports, further analysis papers, geographic studies, working papers and peer-reviewed journal articles.
Research topics cover a wide variety of population, health, and nutrition issues with direct policy relevance, such as trends in fertility, infant and child mortality, and maternal health, contraceptive discontinuation, factors associated with HIV seroprevalence and HIV discordance among couples, linkages between nutrition and HIV, women’s empowerment, domestic violence and demographic outcomes, spatial analyses of health and nutrition, and malaria prevalence and the use of insecticide-treated bed nets.
In addition, The DHS Program conducts qualitative research to improve the process of designing questionnaires and conducting surveys, explore survey findings, and enhance health service programming. A variety of qualitative methods are used to contribute to increased understanding of local perspectives and improved development programs.
The DHS Program also offers training in DHS data analysis and provides short-term fellowships and mentoring for researchers from developing countries in using DHS data to write research papers.