Where From and Whither To? The Demographic and Health Surveys Program and Its Future
Abstract: The Demographic and Health Surveys Program has been in existence since 1984. Funded primarily by USAID, The Program has been the main source of demographic, health and nutrition data for much of the developing world for more than 30 years. Seen today largely as a ‘global good’, The DHS Program is also often described as the gold standard for survey data. However, the DHS has come a very long way from being just a survey program to one that meets emerging needs for new and varied types of data, provides leadership in data collection and analysis methods, conducts independent research with a policy orientation, and contributes to the building of capacity building along the entire survey design to data use spectrum. What will be The DHS Program’s role be as the world moves into the post 2015 era and adopts the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Dr. Kishor will look back and forward in time to discuss the role of large international household survey programs in the brave new SDG world, while also weaving in a bit of her own personal journey as she and The Program have “grown up” together.
Sunita Kishor, Ph.D. is the current Director of The Demographic and Health Surveys Program at ICF International in Maryland. She is also a widely known gender specialist with over two decades of experience in conducting research on the interface between gender and health in developing countries. Dr. Kishor has worked for The DHS Program since 1993 and has been responsible for the development and implementation of special modules on domestic violence and women’s status. In 2006, Dr. Kishor published a widely cited article of survey results in several countries that clearly demonstrates the association of higher risks for pregnancy loss and sexually transmitted infections among women who have experienced GBV. Recent work examines how women and men differ in their experience of reported intimate partner violence (IPV) as well as the association of IPV and HIV. Dr. Kishor has a Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Maryland, College Park, and an MA in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, India.