Govt to conduct demographic, health survey every three years

The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) will henceforth be conducted after every three years instead of five, to ensure that government collects latest data to inform policy decisions, a cabinet minister has said.
Dr Ndagijimana (R) speaks to a family in Muhima Sector that was sampled in the DHS data collection exercise. (Doreen Umutesi)
Dr Ndagijimana (R) speaks to a family in Muhima Sector that was sampled in the DHS data collection exercise. (Doreen Umutesi)

The Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) will henceforth be conducted after every three years instead of five, to ensure that government collects latest data to inform policy decisions, a cabinet minister has said.

The Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning, Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, said this on Tuesday during a field tour of households to assess the ongoing data collection of the fifth Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey.

“We need data to guide our policies and strategies. Five years is a good standard but if we can get the data earlier, it’s much better. The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) has the capacity to produce the data effectively every three years starting with the next phase,” Dr Ndagijimana said.

He explained that timely data helps in monitoring local as well as international progress.

“Like now the whole world is interested in getting data about the progess of not only national goals but also the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since the data from the survey will be available by June 2015,”Dr. Ndagijimana added.

The field visit was organised by NISR in partnership with the United Nations agencies with the aim of supporting data production and use of evidence-based planning and policy formulation.

Jozef Maerien, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative, said the visit helped provide first hand information of how data is collected from households and how the samples are analysed, monitored and recorded at NISR.

“We are impressed with seeing the technical quality of Demographic and Health Survey exercise. This survey helps to track indicators of health and nutrition and inform us about the progress of Rwanda regarding the MDGs,” Maerien said.

“With regards to statistical analysis, DHS has internationally compactable data. It’s important because it helps the government to make the right policy decisions with regards to the future development goals.”

The fifth Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2014-15 is a nationally representative cross-sectional household survey of children under five, women between 15 and 49 years of age, and men between 15 and 59 years.

The DHS survey involves sample collection, sample transportation, labeling and storage. For every village in a sector, 26 families are sampled in the ongoing DHS survey.

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