Evidence-Based Health Policy: Select Contributions from 26 Years of the Demographic and Health Surveys

Rachel Lucas, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Laura Nolan Khan, Princeton University
Madeleine Short Fabic, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Over 200 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have been conducted in more than 75 countries in the last 26 years through the USAID-supported MEASURE DHS Project. Although DHS data were originally intended to help monitor key health indicators, they are increasingly incorporated into high-level decision-making processes as government’s priority-setting and accountability procedures are scrutinized and strengthened, and the MDG deadline approaches. In this study we document successful utilization of DHS data for health policy formulation. Through systematic review of the evidenced-based health policy literature, interviews with experts familiar with DHS and policy translation, and development of a conceptual model, six case studies from a range of countries illustrating how the data-to-policy process has been successfully operationalized are presented. Limitations to both the study and the data itself are noted, and we call for improved documentation of policy formulation and revision in the future.

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Presented in Poster Session 6