The Demographic, Health and Social Statistics Division is responsible for the compilation and dissemination of statistics on demographic and social indicators. At the moment, the division has three sections namely: Demographic Statistics, Social Statistics and Health Statistics. The Demographic Statistics section comprised two units; Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Migration Statistics. The Social Statistics section comprised four units; Gender Statistics, Crime and Justice Statistics, Energy Statistics and Education Statistics. The Health Statistics unit which was under the Demographic Statistics Section is now established as a section and for the moment has three units; Disability Statistics, Disease Surveillance Statistics and Health Facility Statistics.
The goal of the Demographic, Health and Social Statistics Division is to build a strong data collection, analysis and dissemination system that will provide information on demographic, health and social indicators to assist development planning and management of the population.
In order to achieve this goal, the division has the following strategic objectives:
- To compile key demographic indicators on population structure and distribution, fertility, and mortality for the effective implementation of policies on the management and development of the population;
- To compile key social indicators in education, crime and justice and energy for the monitoring and evaluation of programmes geared towards the improvement of the social wellbeing and security of the population;
- To collaborate with bilateral and multilateral organizations including the United Nations in developing research proposals for the collection and analysis of data used for monitoring the implementation of health programmes;
- To promote collaboration between data users and data producers within the framework of the National Statistical System.
Major accomplishments of the division
Some of the major accomplishments of the division can be traced as far back as October 2011. During this period the division accomplished the following:
- Expanded the Social Statistics Section by establishing the Crime and Justice , Energy and Environmental Statistics Units in addition to the Education Statistics which was the only unit by then;
- Introduced Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, under the Demographic Statistics Section;
- Established a unit for monitoring the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals at the local government level;
- Strengthened the Project Coordination Unit by writing project proposals for the conduct on surveys on behalf of clients; won contracts to conduct the first Impact Evaluation of the Sierra Leone Cash-for-Work Programme on behalf of the World Bank and National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), the second Impact Evaluation of the Cash-for-Work, the Small Medium Enterprise Promotion Programme, the Gender Dimension of the Impact of the Ebola Virus Disease conducted on behalf of UN Women. Reports written and submitted to clients;
- Carried out first ever data collection exercise on Crime and Justice Statistics and Births and Deaths Registration Statistics in 2012 and reports published 2013;
- Successfully coordinated the second Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The report of that survey was written by Statistics Sierra Leone staff; an improvement on the 2008 DHS where the survey report was written in USA by ICF International;
- Successfully coordinated the 2015 Population and Housing Census data collection, data processing and report writing activities;
- Successfully coordinated the sixth round of the Multiple Indicator Survey (MICS6) in 2017.
In addition, the division has also provided technical support to the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) and Water Point Mapping undertaken by Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and, Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) and Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) respectively.
Since 2006 when the last edition of the Statistical Disgest was published, the division has updated the Digest to the recent published edition of 2007-2014. Work is already at an advanced stage to publish the 2015-2017 edition.
Some of the major challenges that the division has faced included the following:
- Delays in imputing survey data for analysis and report writing;
- Inadequate technical capacity in data analysis and lack of appropriate software to analyse survey data. The available SPSS is pirated and not licensed;
- Inadequate staff motivation.
However, it would have been better if staff of the division collect and impute data by themselves instead of relying on the Data Processing Division to impute survey data collected by DSSD. This will reduce the time between data collection and publication of reports. It would have also been better if other softwares are available for data analysis. This will expose staff to various analytical methods which they used alternatively to test different statistical models.
To address these challenges in 2018, capacity building programmes in the use of CSPro to capture survey data and other softwares like STATA to analyse survey data are included the Annual Work Plan we have with the United Nations Population Fund. This will enable staff of the division to collect, impute and analyse data and then publish reports in real time.
Also, wide use of Computer Aided Personal Interviews (CAPI) will be introduced to collect data on social and demographic indicators including crime and justice statistics, education, gender and energy statistics.
The goals for the next three years
Between 2018 and 2021, the division aimed at achieving the following goals:
- Conduct the 2018 Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey and publish a report;
- Purchase hand held devices like tables or smart phones for data capture
- Train staff in the use of CSPro, SPSS, STATA and other analytical softwares to capture and analyse survey data;
- Ensure sustainable internet connectivity and electricity supply;
- Carry out divisional data collection activities and publish reports;
- Functionalise and strengthen the National Statistical System (NSS);
- Encourage staff to pursue higher courses in Statistics and Demography;
- Roll out the Countrywide Mortality Surveillance for Action (COMSA).
These goals will be achieved by carrying out the following activities:
- Mobilise resources to conduct the 2018 DHS activities and devise strategies for the recruitment of staff, training, data collection, analysis and report writing;
- Write project proposal and identify potential donors to support training in CSPro, SPSS and STATA;
- Identify sponsorships for staff to pursue higher courses in Statistics and Demography;
- Galvanise financial assistance from government and development partners to support sustainable internet connectivity, electricity and water supply;
- Recruit and train staff at the district level on data collection methods for the COMSA project;
- Convene regular coordinating meetings of data users and data producers in Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the private sector;
- Review the MOU between SSL and line ministries on the role of SSL in coordinating the NSS.
The division remained focused and committed to deliver on its mandate in providing accurate and timely data on demographic and social indicators.