14 October 2016

MICS Methodological Papers discuss methodological issues related to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of MICS data. Paper 3 deals with low birth weight estimates and paper 4 with WASH reporting by wealth quintile.

The MICS Methodological Paper No. 4: Review of options for reporting water, sanitation and hygiene coverage by wealth quintile is now available on the publications page of our website. 

The World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) uses household surveys and census data to derive country estimates for the population with access to improved and unimproved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities. The analysis presented in the report is intended to assist the JMP and UNICEF to gain a better understanding of how best to use the wealth index to help monitor inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. It focuses specifically on the classic wealth index, involving a single principal component analysis (PCA) estimate over the whole sample, leaving to further research such issues as the composite wealth index and the production of separate indices for urban and rural areas.

The MICS Methodological Paper No. 3: Assessment of the effect of twin births, reference periods and birth subsets on low birth weight estimates is also available.  

Globally, the UNICEF‐supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the USAID‐supported Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) are the main sources of data on low birth weight for developing countries. As large percentages of newborns are not weighed at birth, UNICEF uses MICS and DHS data to estimate low birth weight using a combination of information collected on birth weight and mother’s assessment of size of the newborn. While DHS collects data on all births in the last 5 years (before the survey), MICS only collects data on the last birth in the last 2 years and therefore, excludes one twin or two triplets from data collection. Recent evidence shows that rates of twinning and other multiple births vary widely across countries and given that multiple births are known to weigh less at birth than singleton births, this may impact estimates based on MICS due to the exclusion of the first‐born twin from estimates. Using DHS data, the report examines rates of twinning and multiple births in a number of countries and then estimate if the exlcusion of twinbirths impacts low birth weight estimates. It also examines if the reference period and susbset of births (all vs last births in a time period) used in the two survey programmes causes any differences in estimates. 

MICS Methodological Papers are intended to facilitate exchange of knowledge and to stimulate discussion on the methodological issues related to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of MICS data; in particular, the papers document the background methodological work undertaken for the development of new MICS indicators, modules, and analyses. The series can be accessed on the publications page of the website.