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February 2013 Meeting

  • 05 Feb 2013
  • Sumner School

Mothers’ recall of events in delivery and neonatal care in Malawi and Bangladesh: Methodological challenges and lessons for survey questions

Presenter: P. Stanley Yoder, ICF International

Date:  Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Meeting, 7:00 pm, Sumner School, Rotating Gallery G-4

Pre-meeting get-together, 5:30 pm Beacon Bar and Grill

The presentation will describe the process of designing and implementing a study for an NGO that sought guidance for their survey questionnaires related to neonatal care in African and Asian countries. Save the Children US/Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) asked Macro International to design and conduct a study that would provide guidance on what questions they could reliably ask mothers about their recent delivery, and what questions they should avoid asking. They wanted to determine to what extent mothers would remember the nature and timing of specific events so that survey questionnaires could reasonably ask about those events. Fieldwork was conducted in Malawi and in Bangladesh where women were interviewed individually about giving birth at home and in health facilities. The final report on the study can be found on the DHS website www.measuredhs.com in the qualitative research studies series (QRS17).

The presentation is divided into several sections:

  1. Reflections on the general question received from the NGO
  2. The methodological choices made for data collection and analysis
  3. Issues of implementation
  4. Key findings and recommendations


Stan Yoder is a social anthropologist with 30 years experience conducting research in more than 20 countries in Africa on topics ranging from childhood illness and treatment, the practice of traditional healers, health program evaluation, HIV/AIDS, and female genital cutting. His areas of particular expertise lie in HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa, research methodology, the formulation of survey questions, program evaluation, and ethnomedical knowledge and practice.

Since 1998 Stan has been the senior qualitative research specialist at Macro International within the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) group where he designs and directs studies related to health issues in African countries. He has been collaborating with WHO and UNICEF on policy issues related to HIV/AIDS, verbal autopsy, informed consent, and female genital cutting. Before joining Macro he edited a book on health and healing in Africa, edited a special issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly on the relationship between knowledge and practice, and co-edited a book on the use of drama and theatre for health education called Contaminating Theatre (1998).

With regard to survey research, Yoder has conducted research at DHS on the understanding of survey questions by respondents, the translation of questions into local languages, and the understanding of informed consent in surveys by respondents. He seeks to better understand the potential and limitations of survey data as well as that of data in a more narrative form.

Meeting:  Charles Sumner School, corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC

How to get there:  The Sumner School is located at 1201 17th St NW (corner of 17th St and M St NW).  The entrance to the meeting area is on 17th St under the black metal stairway. Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 2 blocks north.  Enter the building through the double doors under the black metal staircase.  MEETING ROOM:  Rotating Gallery G-4 (ground floor)

Pre-meeting:  Beacon Bar & Grill (one block north of Sumner School)

How to get there:  The Beacon Bar & Grill is in the Beacon Hotel located at 1615 Rhode Island Ave NW (corner of Rhode Island and 17th St).  Directions from Metro Red Line Farragut North station: take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 3 blocks north (one block past Sumner School).  All are welcome.

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