The first-ever national demographic and health survey has been conducted, and the results are out.
Coming out soon after the report on the preliminary results of the 2013 population and housing census, it is clear that we now have in place a gold-mine of data, from which we could acquire relevant information to facilitate planning for projects and programmes that would address the health and other basic needs of the population.
Indeed, the non-availability of good reliable data and the effects of such a situation on planning for progress in developing countries is well-known; and so is the importance of having in place such data for national development work.
Thus, we want to congratulate GBoS and its partners for making this possible - please keep up the good work!
The main objective of this 2013 GDHS survey, we are told, was to provide comprehensive data on fertility and mortality, family planning, and maternal and child health and nutrition, as well as information on maternal mortality and domestic violence.
The survey also provided data on malaria and HIV prevalence in the country.
We want to share what GBoS further stated about the report, and the institution's expectations:
"It is also hoped that the survey will be useful to those interested in the fields of population, family planning, and health.
"It is hoped that the 2013 GDHS data will meet its objectives of facilitating important government policies and programs, promoting maternal and child health, and preventing the spread of infectious diseases", said the country's statistician-general stated in the preface to the report.
"This report provides some preliminary findings of the 2013 GDHS. The results of the HIV testing will be presented in a separate preliminary report, and detailed findings will be presented in the main survey report, to be released early in 2014...", the statistician-general went on, and thanked his staff for the "timeliness and good quality of the data".
According to GBoS, "this preliminary publication presents the main findings of the 2013 GDHS. These preliminary results were prepared three months after completion of data collection in order to make them available for their use in family planning and other public health interventions.
"The final report on the GDHS 2013 is expected to be published in early 2014 and will include a more comprehensive description of the survey results. The results presented here are provisional and may be subject to slight modifications.
"However, the final figures are not expected to differ significantly from the findings presented in this report.
"The primary objective of the GDHS was to provide reliable estimates of health and demographic indicators in the areas of fertility, mortality, family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, malaria, and HIV, which can be used by program managers and policy makers to evaluate and improve existing programs or to develop new ones.
"In addition, the GDHS data will be useful to researchers and scholars interested in analyzing current situations and trends in The Gambian population, as well as those conducting comparative, regional, or cross-national studies".
"It is clear that we now have in place a gold-mine of data"