Conducting a household survey using DHIS2 to monitor sanitation access in Liberia

Population Services International (PSI) leads the USAID County Wide Sanitation Activity (CWSA), a USAID five-year initiative designed to assist the Government of Liberia to permanently end open defecation and achieve universal sustained access to basic sanitation across five counties. The activity implements a market-based sanitation strategy and uses DHIS2 to monitor toilet sales. To monitor progress against these goals, annual household surveys are conducted. Although DHIS2 is typically used for routine monitoring, it is increasingly being used for questionnaire-based activities. CWSA implemented these surveys using DHIS2 so that survey data co-existed with sales data. CWSA developed a DHIS2 event program for a survey in which communities were randomly sampled per county, households were randomly selected per community, samples sizes were calculated using 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error, and the EquityTool was used to assess wealth quintiles. The tool was used successfully in 2023 and 2024 with more than 5000 respondents including in rural and poor communities. This serves as a proof of concept that DHIS2 can reliably serve for household surveys, can eliminate the need for multiple software or migrating data, enabling teams to cross-reference survey and routine programmatic data, and simplify transitions to government than use of traditional survey software.

2024 DHIS2 Annual Conference - Rollup banner poster - PSI Liberia (Updated v2).pdf (276.5 KB)

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Hello Luigi,
We use our DHIS2 instance to track household and participants but use CommCare to conduct surveys. Your post is making question whether it may be possible to do our survey in DHIS2 in the future. Our users love CommCare and have been using it for years, but leveraging an existing tool to do more is always better. Looking forward to learning more about this endeavor.
Best,
Monica

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Hi Monica, great to hear from you. Yes, that’s very common, using other tools to conduct surveys (our experience at PSI is SurveyCTO). I totally agree that, increasingly, it’s becoming more possible to do them in DHIS2, especially with the improved processing times and layout flexibility on the Android application. I don’t think it can handle (yet) every type of survey that we see, especially longer ones and surveys that switch between (for example) household and individual level data within the same questionnaire. One example that has both of these limitations is the DHS. It’s great when we can avoid using so many different tools and have to migrate data, etc. Happy to chat more!

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