The Moldovan Reproductive Health Survey (MRHS) was conducted from July to September 1997 and represented the fourth of seven national reproductive health surveys carried out or planned in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union between 1993 and 1999 with the technical assistance of the Division of Reproductive Health of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga.
The survey was specifically designed to meet the following objectives:
-to assess the current situation in Moldova concerning fertility, abortion, contraception and various other reproductive health issues;
-to enable policy makers, program managers, and researchers to evaluate and improve existing programs and to develop new strategies;
-to measure changes in fertility and contraceptive prevalence rates and study factors that affect these changes, such as geographic and socio-demographic factors, breast-feeding patterns, use of induced abortion, and availability of family planning;
-to provide data necessary to develop sex education and health promotion programs;
-to obtain data on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of young adults 15-24 years of age;
-to provide information on the level of knowledge about AIDS transmission and prevention;
-to identify and focus further reproductive health studies toward high risk groups.
The survey provides data that will assist the Moldovan Government in improving services related to the health of women and children and was proposed in conjunction with the UNFPAsponsored reproductive health (RH) activities in Moldova, which consist of several components intended to increase the use of effective contraception, reduce the reliance on induced abortion as a means of fertility control, and, more generally, to improve RH. Specific projects supported by UNFPA in Moldova include ongoing support to the Government for developing a national RH plan, provisions of contraceptives, and training of family planning providers. In addition, the national RH plan is receiving support from USAID (family planning logistics management, information/ education/communication activities), IPPF (provision of contraceptives), and UNICEF.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
The questionnaire covered a wide range of topics related to reproductive health for all women regardless of marital status and included additional questions on sex education and sexual behavior for women aged 15-24.
The MRHS questionnaire covered a wide range of topics related to reproductive health in Moldova. Specific areas included:
- Social, Economic and Demographic Characteristics
- Pregnancy History
- Use of Women's Health Services
- Morbidity During Pregnancy
- Family Planning Awareness and Use
- Knowledge and Opinions about Specific Contraceptive Methods
- Reproductive Health Attitudes
- Contraceptive Counseling
- Sex Education, Sexual Behaviors, and Contraception among Young Adults
- Women's Health Issues
- Knowledge about HIV/AIDS Transmission and Prevention
- Violence Against Women
The 1997 MRHS was designed to collect information from a representative sample of women of reproductive age throughout Moldova.
The universe from which the respondents were selected included all females between the ages of 15 and 44, regardless of marital status, who were living in Moldova when the survey was carried out.
Producers and sponsors
Institute for Scientific Research of Mother and Child Care (ISRMC)
Moldovan Ministry of Health
Family Planning Association of Moldova
Moldovan State Department for Statistics
United Nations Population Fund
United States Agency for International Development
United Nations Children's Fund
Division of Reproductive Health (DRH)
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Technical assistance in survey design, sampling, questionnaire development, training, data processing, and report writing
The survey employed a three-stage probability sample design and successfully interviewed 5,412 (98%) of 5,543 women identified in sample households as eligible for interview.
The survey employed a three-stage sampling design using two sampling frames (one for urban areas and one for rural areas) provided by the MSDS. The urban sampling frame was based on the 1989 census, whereas the rural sampling frame consisted of a list of the 1,607 villages in the country, recently updated for household composition in January-April 1997 for an agricultural registry.
In the first stage, 128 census sectors in urban areas and 122 villages were selected as Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) with probability proportional to the number of households in each census sector/village. In the second stage of sampling, clusters of households were randomly selected in each census sector/village chosen in the first stage. Before second-stage selection in urban areas, the Census Division of the MSDS redefined each 1989 census sector selected as a PSU for street boundaries, converted the maps and listings from Russian to Moldavian, and updated the sector's household composition in collaboration with personnel from the local health care units. A cluster of households was randomly selected from the updated sector lists of the PSUs in urban areas and from the household listings in the villages selected as PSUs in the first stage. (Since there were roughly equal numbers of urban and rural households, the sample was designed to be geographically self-weighting.) In each sample strata, urban and rural, the third stage consisted of the random selection of one woman if there were two or more eligible women (aged 15-44 years) living in the same household.
Cluster size determination was based on the number of households required to obtain an average of 20 interviews per cluster. The total number of households in each cluster took into account estimates of unoccupied households, average number of women 15-44 per household, the interview of only one woman per household, and an estimated response rate of 90% in urban areas and 92% in rural areas. In urban areas, the cluster size with a yield of 20 interviews, on average, was determined to be 45 households. In rural areas, because the average number of women 15-44 per household varies considerably by raion, the average number of households needed to obtain 20 complete interviews varied from 42 to 60.
Of the 11,506 households selected, 5,543 were found to include at least one 15-44 year-old woman. Of these women, 5,412 were successfully interviewed, for a response rate of 97.6%. Less than one percent of selected women refused to be interviewed, while another 1.3% could not be located. Response rates were slightly better in rural areas (98%) than in municipalities and other urban areas (97%). In Chisinau (not shown), the response rate was 96%; nearly 3% of women selected in the sample could not be located.
Since only one woman was selected from each household containing women of reproductive age, all results have been weighted to compensate for the fact that some households included more than one eligible woman.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
interviews were conducted at the respondent's homes by trained female interviewers. These interviews generally lasted 45 to 60 minutes. Almost all women selected to participate in the survey agreed to be interviewed and were very cooperative.
The questionnaire was first drafted by CDC/DRH consultants based on a core questionnaire used in the 1993 Romanian Reproductive Health Survey. This core questionnaire was reviewed and modified by Moldovan experts in reproductive health and family planning, as well as by USAID and UNFPA. Based on these reviews, a pretest questionnaire was developed and field-tested in April 1997. The questionnaire, developed in Romanian, was translated into Russian after the pretest. All interviewers spoke these two languages.
The questionnaire had two components: (1) A short household questionnaire used to collect residential and geographic information, select information about all women of childbearing age living in sampled households, and information on interview status. This module was also used to randomly select one respondent when there was more than one eligible woman in the household; (2) The longer individual questionnaire collected information on the topics mentioned above.
The major reproductive health topics on which information was collected were: pregnancies and childbearing (a complete history of all pregnancies, including planning status of pregnancies in the last five years, a detailed history of abortions within the last five years, including postabortion counseling, and the history of all births within the last five years, including the patterns of utilization of health services during pregnancy, maternal morbidity, infant health and breast-feeding); family planning (knowledge and history of use of methods of preventing pregnancy, current use of contraception, source of contraception, reasons for not using, reasons for use of less effective methods of contraception, future fertility preferences and intentions to use voluntary sterilization); women's health (health behavior and use of women's health services, tobacco and alcohol use); reproductive health knowledge and attitudes (especially regarding birth control pills, condoms, and IUDs); knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention; domestic violence, including violence during the most recent pregnancy; history of sexual abuse; and socioeconomic characteristics of women and their husbands/families. The young women (15-24 years of age) were asked additional questions on sex education, age and contraceptive use at first sexual intercourse,
and sexual behaviors.
Most issues have been examined by geographic, demographic, and socio-economic characteristics, making it possible to identify the segments of the population with specific health needs or problems.
The geographic distribution of the sample, by residence and region, is very close to official figures of the population distribution for 1996, estimated by the Moldovan State Department for Statistics.
The percent distribution of women in the sample by five-year age groups is compared with the 1994 official estimates (the most recent estimates by age group) in Table 2.3. Compared with these estimates, the survey sample has slightly over-represented adolescent women (15-19 yearolds) and under-represented women aged 40-44 by about two percentage points. However, several factors may have contributed to the differences observed: first, there is a three-year difference between the time the official estimates were calculated and the survey was implemented; second, the official estimates are projections of the age composition recorded by the 1989 census and thus dependent on assumptions used in projecting the aging of a cohort; finally, official estimates include any possible age misreporting that occured in the census.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.