The situation began to change in 2003, when the Bureau of Statistics (BoS), Punjab, conducted its first Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). MICS survey tools are questionnaires that enable institutions to create “statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS” (UNICEF.org). The global and standardized survey questionnaires are made available, and are then adapted by government organizations to match local realities.
After their first round in 2003 and second in 2007 (report available for download here), the BoS team decided that the next MICS would not only update previous results, but it would also cover a larger amount of information, highlight disparities within districts, and serve as an advocacy tool.
“It was a historical survey. In 2003-2004, there were about 40 indicators and now, in 2011, the number approaches 100,” says Muhammad Mumtaz Ahmad, Senior System Analyst at the Punjab Bureau of Statistics. “We deployed a record amount of people on the field and visited the largest number of households yet.”
Indeed, about 70 teams of two or three people (including one supervisor) were trained and then deployed across Punjab for seven months in 2011. 102,048 households were interviewed in 7,250 clusters of Punjab (3,488 urban and 3,762 rural). New indicators include income and expenditure for households.
“They were sending the data over to the Bureau of Statistics as they were collecting it, so we were receiving and entering in real time,” says Ahmad. His team is now in the process of reviewing the data and checking for any mistakes before entering the writing phase of the report. The publication will then be available to download on their website.
How does the MICS survey make a difference? On June 1st, the referential year started in Pakistan and the government needed to allocate its budget. The planning department asked for the MICS results so that they could make data-driven decisions. As for dissemination, Mr. Ahmad would like to enter the information from MICS Punjab 2011 into a DevInfo database as to make it available and accessible for all.
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Mr. Muhammad Mumtaz Ahmad, Senior System Analyst, Bureau of Statistics Punjab, at email@example.com.