USAID Conference Emphasizes the Importance of Surveys on Disease Tracking, Management
In addition to tracking disease prevalence and identifying the positive effects of disease control programs, demographic health surveys provide nations with possible solutions to health-related crises such as HIV/AIDS, officials with USAID and ORC Macro International stated during a press conference on the importance of surveys on global health. Dr. Duff Gillespie, deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau of Global Health at USAID, noted that in addition to providing objective data on disease trends, surveys also help identify areas in which additional study may be warranted. He added that surveys help lawmakers decide how to allocate funding for and track the success of health programs in their own countries and for other countries (Meredith McGroarty, Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). For example, Gillespie said that in the late 1990s, DHS data showed that the rate of new HIV infections among women was rising faster than the rate of new infections among men, particularly in some developing countries. Health officials in Uganda "immediately took action," and the government began disseminating HIV/AIDS prevention messages and offering women reproductive health counseling and testing. Gillespie said that recent DHS data show "the stunning success of those efforts." The age at first sexual intercourse has decreased by two years for Ugandan women, which has contributed to a 35% decline in HIV rates among young Ugandan women (Morin/Deane, Washington Post, 6/4). A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of this press conference, as well as other sessions that took place during the two-day conference on data collection and health management, will be available online after 12 p.m. ET today.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.