Health Survey Starts Next Month

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Namibians must gear themselves to take part in the nationwide 2006 Demographic and Health Survey expected to start next month. Officially launching the survey yesterday, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, said this is a very important exercise that needs the cooperation of all Namibians. “This is a huge undertaking and we urge all Namibians to support us in carrying out this survey by welcoming the survey teams. When they visit households, please provide the information that is required and please give sufficient time for interviews by being cooperative and patient,” Kamwi encouraged. The 2006 Demographic and Health Survey is part of the country’s National Development Plans (NDPs) and will serve as an assessment tool for NDP 1. The latest exercise is therefore a follow-up on the 1992 and 2000 Demographic and Health surveys undertaken by the ministry and its partners. During this process, 28 teams will be deployed to all parts of the country’s 13 regions to interview 10 000 women and 5 000 men within a period of three months. The objective of the survey is look at the general population demographics and overall health condition of citizens in the country. This includes determining the rates of fertility and mortality in children and adults, under five-year mortality rates, the level of fertility and contraceptive knowledge and usage, a wider look at the health condition of orphans and vulnerable children and various household and infant feeding practices, amongst others. Furthermore, the survey will also look at the national immunisation coverage and the proportion of sick people being taken care of at home as a result of the HIV/Aids pandemic, and look at sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Generally, this kind of information and data collection will aid not only health officials about the status of the nation’s health and wellbeing, but be a useful tool for trainers and other interested partners. When giving a presentation about the survey at a press briefing yesterday, Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said that that the outcome of the survey information will also be made available to members of parliament and trainers of health workers. Three main questionnaires will be used during the exercise – firstly based on households, secondly on individual women aged between 15 and 49, and third, individual men aged between 15 and 49 years. The questionnaires will be translated into six main local languages – Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Silozi, Rukwangali, Damara/Nama and Afrikaans. The survey will be conducted under the jurisdiction of a steering committee under the chairmanship of the health ministry’s under-secretary. According to the Survey Director, Bertha Katjivena, most of the field work will start during the last week of next month, the data collection will be completed around the second week of March next year, while the final report of the survey is anticipated by the end of October next year. The health ministry is conducting the latest nationwide survey in collaboration with other relevant partners like Global Fund and Macro International, the Central Bureau of Statistics under the National Planning Commission, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Chinese and American governments.