Currently, 24 teams (each consisting of three female interviewers, one male interviewer, one measurer and one supervisor) are visiting households, fielding questions that cover nearly every topic on the MICS6 “menu” as well as on the impact of Ebola. Sierra Leone has been spearheading the roll-out of the 6th round of MICS which is characterized by new tools and questionnaires with new topics.
The data being collected is representative not only at the national level but also at the district and urban/rural levels, which is especially important as this level of disaggregation allows detailed and precise determinations of key indicators used for planning and program implementation.
Four MICS surveys were previously conducted in the country by administering paper questionnaires: one in 1995, 2000, 2005 and the latest one in 2010. This time interviewers are collecting data using tablets in what is termed Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI), thus reducing the time to relay information to the Statistical Offices. Fieldwork began around the capital Freetown so that survey managers and computer programmers can test the data exchange between teams and the central office and monitor data quality. That approach is particularly important as this effort constitutes the first “live” implementation of the new MICS6 data collection software.
The Sierra Leone 2017 MICS is seen as an important tool for measuring progress towards key national and international targets as laid out in various development plans. Since the previous MICS, several initiatives have been implemented to further improve the situation of women and children; the 2017 survey will help measure the effectiveness of these interventions and quantify progress in development made – in addition to providing internationally comparable data on the current situation of women and children and acting as a baseline for the new Sustainable Development Goals.
The survey has been customized to collect information to assess the impact of the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015. As part of this initiative, specially trained interviewers are asking a range of additional, very sensitive questions about health and mortality in the period up until WHO declared Sierra Ebola free in March 2016. A similar effort was also implemented in the Guinea MICS in 2016, for which results are expected published in the next months.
Results from this first MICS 6 survey are expected within 6-9 months.