An evaluation of the 1993-94 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey within the Matlab area

R. Bairagi, S. Becker, A. Kantner, K. B. Allen, A. Datta, K. Purvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 1993-94 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey (DHS) reported substantial declines in birth and infant mortality rates, including fertility levels that some demographers considered implausible. To validate the survey's findings, a DHS survey was conducted in the rural subdistrict (thana) of Matlab in 1994. Its results were compared with vital rates collected by the Demographic Surveillance System of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research. Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) whose main field station is located in Matlab. Information from the Matlab DHS about current contraceptive use was also compared with data on pregnancy status and contraceptive use routinely collected from women of childbearing age by ICDDR,B's Record-keeping System in half of the surveillance area, known as the treatment area. Survey and ICDDR,B records of 2 628 women were matched for the comparisons. The results suggest that the Matlab DHS accurately estimated fertility in both the treatment and comparison areas, lending confidence to the reliability of fertility estimates obtained from the national DHS. The results also indicate that Matlab DHS infant mortality rates for the five years prior to the survey are reasonably consistent with estimates derived from the Demographic Surveillance System. For periods more than five years before the survey, however, the Matlab DHS underreported infant deaths. The Matlab DHS also appears to have underestimated current contraceptive use, especially of modern temporary methods. Although the findings increase confidence in the DHS estimates of vital rates, some caution is still advised in drawing inferences about national data in Bangladesh based on the results of the Matlab validation study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAsia-Pacific Population Research Reports
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Demography

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