Health News of 2014-08-30

Ghana's demographic survey starts on Monday

The 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey data collection exercise, which would cost $3.2 million would commence on Monday, September 1 and end on December 15, Ghana' Statistician Dr Philomena Nyarko, has said.

Information gathered during the five months survey exercise in 427 areas nationwide would be used in the decision making process to mostly support health, social and economic policy formulation of the nation.

Speaking during the launch on in Winneba in the Central Region, Dr Nyarko said the data collected could be applied to generate indicators that would help to evaluate progress Ghana had made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

She said the demographic and health survey and others had provided a wealth of information for understanding the health, demographic, social and economic transitions experienced in the country.

“Ghana is experiencing numerous changes in the social and economic lives of its people, and we require reliable and timely statistical data to understand the extent of these changes and the measures that need to be taken to address them,” she said.

According to Dr Nyarko the field personnel put into 25 teams comprising eight persons in each team would be deployed across the country.

Data processing to validate the data would start 14 days after the commencement of fieldwork and completed by the end of January, 2015.

She said that the preliminary survey report would be released by the end of April 2015 while the final report would be published and disseminated by September 30, 2015.

She therefore appealed to respondents to cooperate with the field officers and called on traditional leaders, coordinating directors in the assemblies and other stakeholders to facilitate the work of the field teams.

She urged the media to provide adequate publicity on the exercise.

Dr Nyarko told Ghana News Agency that this year’s survey is unique as additional indicators like HIV and AIDS, salting and blood testing as well as maternal protection among others had been added.

Dr Gulnara Semenor, Regional Coordinator, Demographic and Health Surveys Programme, USAID said since the last survey in 2008, a lot had changed.

The survey would be of interest as it seeks to provide information on how many men and women in Ghana were infected with HIV and number of children younger than five carrying the parasites that cause malaria.

“Of course, we also will know other very important facts like how many children sleep under mosquito nets and how many women give birth in health care facilities,” she added.

She explained that in 1988, half of young children in Ghana had received recommended vaccinations but in 2008 that percentage increased to almost eight to 10 children.

In 1988, only five per cent of currently married women used a modern method of contraception but by 2008 that proportion tripled to 17 per cent, she said.