Minister Sey launches GDHS 2013 Report

The minister of Health and Social Welfare on behalf of the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Abdou Colley, yesterday launched the 2013 Gambia Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) report, which is a nationally representative survey of 10, 233 women, ages 15-49 and 3, 821 men ages 15-59. The launching was held at the Laico Hotel in Banjul.

The 2013 GDHS, according to GBOS officials is the first comprehensive survey conducted in The Gambia as part of the worldwide Demographic and Health Survey programme.

In his launching statement, Minister Omar Sey informed that The Gambia Bureau of Statistics conducted the 2013 GDHS report in collaboration with his ministry and the National Population Commission Secretariat. “This project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that provides support and technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide”.

The Health minister outlined the main objectives of the survey, which include providing comprehensive data on fertility and mortality, family planning, maternal and child health nutrition, as well as information on maternal mortality and domestic violence.

The survey, he went on, also provides household-based data on the prevalence of malaria and HIV, two of the most life-threatening infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

He informed that the survey was internationally planned to be fielded at the beginning of the last term of the MDGs reporting period so that it would provide information on progress towards the attainment of set MDG targets in The Gambia.

The ongoing integrated household survey, which is expected to conclude by July 2016, he stated, would provide up-to-date information on some of the required indicators.

The minister went on to intimate that the survey covers a nationally representatives sample and was designed to produce estimates of the major survey variables at the national, urban and rural areas, and local government area level.

“Thus, the report would also to a great extent address most of the health and demographic data gaps that existed before the conduct of this survey. The Government of The Gambia appreciates the individual and institutional contribution in various ways to the successful completion of the 2013 GDHS report”.

Sey on behalf of the government, extended his special thanks to the Office of the Vice President for their overall coordination of the implementation process, MoFEA for ensuring that government commitments in terms of financial contribution were fulfilled and MoHSW for coordination and undertaking of voluntary counselling and testing activities.

“We are also appreciative of the support received from USAID, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, the Global Fund through the Malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB grants and Action Aid The Gambia and the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS,” he acknowledged.

GBOS Statistician generalIn his welcome statement, statistician general at the Gambia Bureau of Statistics, Nyakassi M.B. Sanyang, said the purpose of this first 2013 GDHS report is to furnish policy makers and planners with detailed information on fertility, family planning, infant, child, adult and maternal mortality, maternal and child health, nutrition, and knowledge of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

“A sub-sample of one in every two households was selected for the male survey and for collection of blood samples for HIV, anaemia and malaria testing. Lack of DHS creates great demographic and health data paucity in the country. I would therefore want to appeal to all stakeholders for us to maintain the spirit of collaboration not only for the DHS but for any major statistical research activity required to be conducted in this country to better [and] timely inform policy and decision making,” he remarked.

According to Sanyang, during the implementation of the GDHS project in 2012/2013, both financial and technical contribution was received from major stakeholders from various government, NGOs and UN agencies that contributed to the successful implementation of the survey.

He acknowledged the efforts of his staff and freelance enumerators who were either in the field or in the office, thereby making this survey a success. He also expressed gratitude to ICF International, which provided technical assistance through the worldwide DHS programme.

Momodou Lamin Cham, 2013 GDHS coordinator, made a power point presentation on the key findings of the report.