UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analyzing data in order to fill data gaps for monitoring the situation of children and women through its international household survey initiative the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).
MICS surveys are typically carried out by government organizations, with the support and assistance of UNICEF and other partners. Technical assistance and training for the surveys is provided through a series of regional workshops where experts from developing countries are trained on various aspects of MICS (questionnaire content, sampling and survey implementation, data processing, data quality and data analysis, and report writing and dissemination).
Since the mid-1990s, the MICS has enabled many countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world.
MICS1 (1995) - The MICS was originally developed in response to the World Summit for Children to measure progress towards an internationally agreed set of mid-decade goals. The first round of MICS was conducted around 1995 in more than 60 countries.
MICS2 (2000) - A second round of surveys was conducted in 2000 (around 65 surveys), and resulted in an increasing wealth of data to monitor the situation of children and women. For the first time it was possible to monitor trends in many indicators and set baselines for other indicators.
MICS3 (2005-2006) - The third round of MICS, which was carried out in over 50 countries in 2005-06, has been an important data source for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals with 21 MDG indicators collected through MICS3 (particularly indicators related to health, education and mortality). MICS3 was also a monitoring tool for other international goals including the World Fit for Children, the UNGASS targets on HIV/AIDS and the Abuja targets for malaria.
MICS4 (2009-2011) - In response to an increased demand for data all over the world, starting from MICS4, UNICEF will be prepared to provide assistance to countries at more frequent intervals - every three years instead of every five years. This will provide the opportunity for countries to capture rapid changes in key indicators, particularly the MDGs.
The main objective of MICS-2 is to provide national-level information on key indicators related to the health and well being of children in order to assess the achievements of end-decade goals of the WSC Plan of Action. It will provide information on household composition, water and sanitation, salt iodization, education (including early childhood), adult literacy, child labor force, birth registration and reasons for non-registration of births, breastfeeding, child morbidity and treatment (diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infection), immunization, nutrition status of women and children, vitamin A deficiency (both functional and biochemical investigation), tetanus toxoid, low birth weight, anemia among women and maternal health (antenatal and delivery). It also provides information to policymakers and programme administrators for future planning and implementing strategies to improve health and nutrition status of children and women.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Households, women age 15-49, and children under age 5.
The Maldives Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2) covered the following topics:
- Household demographic characteristics
- Child labor
- Water and sanitation
- Salt iodization
- Child mortality
- Tetanus toxoid
- Maternal and newborn health
- Contraceptive use
CHILDREN UNDER AGE 5
- Birth registration and early learning
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Care of Illness
- Respiratory illness
Producers and sponsors
Ministry of Health
United Nations Children's Fund
The standard 'EPI 30 cluster' sampling technique was used (recommended by UNICEF procedures for sampling with PPS-option 2). The 1995 census served as the sampling frame. Maldives was divided into five geographic regions (based on the 20 atolls in 1995 Census) and clusters were selected in each region as follows:
Region I: Male' [Henveiru, Galholhu, Machchangolhi, Maafannu (two clusters)]
Region II: North: (Ha. Ihavanddhoo, Ha. Thruraakunu, HDh. Nolhivaramu, HDh. Kulhudhuffushi, Sh. Goidhoo, and Sh. Komandoo)
Region III: North central: (N. Lhoho, R. Alifushi, R, Innamaadhoo, B. Dhonfanu, Lh. Hinnavaru, and Lh. Olhuvelifushi)
Region IV: South: (Ga. Devvadhoo, GDh. Thinadhoo, Gdh. Rathafandhoo, Gn. Fuvahmulah, S. Hithadhoo, and S. Feydhoo)
Region V: South central: (K. Guraidhoo, AD. Mahibadhoo, M. Naalaafushi, Dh. Bandidhoo, Th. Kandoodhoo, L. Maabaidhoo, and L. Maamendhoo)
A total of 30 clusters were selected based on the population proportion to size (PPS) methodology from sample frame of 200 inhabited islands taking into account the possible non-response rates. The sample was designed to provide national level estimates for key indicators. The over all target sample size was 35 households of each cluster to get completed 782 interviews of children under 5 years. The required sample sizes calculated for assessing the bulk of WSC indicators were very much smaller than the required sample for Vitamin A (night blindness) estimation. Details of each target sample size are attached as an Appendix. An additional sample was taken to meet the target of 50 children aged 24-59 months and 50 women aged 15-49 years in each cluster for Vitamin A module (night blindness and DBS) estimates.
The survey succeeded in achieving a household response rate of 99.9 percent. As expected, response rate is somewhat lower in individual interview (98 percent). For ninety-seven percent of children under age 5 information was collected. A total of 1,062 households, 1,949 women aged 15-49, and 854 children under age 5 were covered.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
Training and Fieldwork
Officials of the Ministry of Health trained the field staff for the survey in Male'. Training consisted of classroom training as well as field practice and additional training for supervisors. Medical doctors gave separate training to clinicians attached to enumerator teams on measuring height and weight, testing for anaemia, and the DBS technique. It included classroom training and extensive field practice in random households in Male'. Five enumerator teams conducted the fieldwork, each team consisting of one supervisor, four female enumerators and one or more clinician(s). The fieldwork was carried out between 15 March 2001 and 28 March 2001. Project coordinator and senior staff of Ministry of Health monitored and supervised the data collection operations.
MICS used the standard three modules of questionnaires: Household Questionnaire, Questionnaire for Children Under Five and Questionnaire for Woman of Reproductive ages (15-49 years), recommended by the UNICEF globally to assess end-decade WSC goals. The content and format of the questionnaires were similar to MICS surveys in other countries, thus providing a basis for inter-country comparison.
The Household Questionnaire enumerated usual residents in each sample household who stayed in the household the night before the interview date. For each enumerated person, the survey collected basic information on age, sex, marital status, and literacy. For children aged 5-14, information was gathered on paid or unpaid work outside home, household chores and household farm/business i.e., other family work, number of hours per week spent in these activities; For children age 5-17, data was gathered on school attendance, and school dropout. For children under age 15, information was obtained on alternative care and orphans. In addition, the Household Questionnaire also collected information on the main source of drinking water, type of toilet facility, and use of iodized salt for cooking.
Questionnaire for Children under age 5 collected information on various child indicators: Information on birth registration, attending early childhood learning programme, ever breast fed, duration of exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding started, prevalence and treatment of common childhood diseases such as diarrhoea, fever, and Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), availability of immunisation card, and coverage for specific primary immunisation doses, and anthropometrics.
The Woman's Questionnaire for women of reproductive age 15-49 collected information on Women indicators: Nutritional status (height, Weight, Hemoglobin content, Vitamin A); Women who had delivered during the year preceding the survey: Proportion who had antenatal check-up, received two doses of tetanus toxoid injections, assistance at delivery, and night blindness during pregnancy.
Completed questionnaires were sent to the Ministry of Health, Male' for data processing. Before data entry, questionnaires were thoroughly checked which consisted of office editing and coding using the Epi Info software. Data entry was done by four data entry operators under the supervision of one senior staff of the MOH. Data entry and editing operations were completed by July 2001.
After machine editing under supervision of UNICEF consultant, data was analyzed using SPSS software. UNICEF country office staff assisted to calculate nutrition indicators for children using anthro pack. DBS sample collected from children and women are sent to WHO Geneva for laboratory analysis.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
MICS Programme Manager
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