Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), together with South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), has initiated the South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 2016 (SADHS 2016) on behalf of the National Department of Health (NDoH).

As part of the survey, branded Stats SA fieldworkers accompanied by a nurse will visit 15,000 sampled dwelling units between June and November 2016 and ask a wide range of questions relating to health, fertility, nutrition and family planning, among others.

The data will be collected using a computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) app on a tablet computer. The CAPI app was developed by ICF International, a consultancy funded by USAID.

“The use of CAPI is part of a transformative agenda for official statistics and this is anchored on delivering better quality statistics, faster and at a lower cost. In this regard, for a period of a year we moved to the use of CAPI,” said Statistician-General of South Africa and Head of Stats SA, Dr Pali Lehohla.

“Through the use of these devices we have reduced the cost of data from R2,000 per unit of collection to R200, a tenfold reduction. The results are now ready within six weeks of conclusion of collection and the quality is also better because we embedded logical processes on the device that control for inconsistencies such range checks,” continued Dr Lehohla.

It is critical that the SADHS 2016 receives a high response rate, as information emanating from it will be used to make key public health decisions and policies. According to Stats SA, the results of the survey will be used to measure the health status of South Africans as well as the coverage and quality of selected health programmes.

“The data collected during the survey will help policymakers make necessary changes to health programmes and provide additional resources wherever deficiencies are identified within the health system, with the ultimate intention of improving the general health of South Africans,” said Dr Lehohla.

On completion, the survey will enable Stats SA to compile estimates on child and maternal mortality, fertility rates, and the prevalence of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, among others.

The survey will also enable the country to make national estimates on adult obesity and measure the coverage of child health immunisation, family planning programmes, and HIV/AIDS awareness programmes.

In accordance with the Statistics Act, data collected will be treated as confidential.

“To improve the health system in the country accurate and timely information is needed, and South Africans can help make this possible by taking part in the SADHS,” concluded Lehohla.

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