Statistics on disability in developing countries
There is little data on disability in low-income countries in general. A few overview articles describe existing data as suffering from poor quality, lack of comparability and limited applicability.
SINTEF was commissioned by the DFID Disability Knowledge and Research Program in January 2005 to carry out an inquiry on Disability and statistics in developing countries. Methods applied have been a review of relevant international initiatives and a workshop in Gaborone in June 2005 with DPOs and researchers from Southern Africa as participants.
Three international initiatives to improve disability statistics in low-income countries are reviewed:
- The United Nations Statistics Division has produced guidelines aimed at improving the collection, compilation and dissemination of disability data. UNSD has further established DISTAT which is the Disability Statistics Database for Microcomputers established by United Nations Statistics Division.
- The Washington City Group was formed after the International Seminar on the Measurement of Disability held in New York in 2001. The objectives of the WG were to develop standard questions on disability for censuses and population surveys. WG has so far developed questions for censuses that will be tested in 2005.
- A series of National, representative household surveys are carried out in Southern Africa by SINTEF Health research and partners. These studies are initiated and controlled by FFO and SAFOD. The studies have drawn on ICF, comprise a large set of indicators on level of living and allows for comparison between groups and contexts .
A workshop with main focus on application of research was arranged in Gaborone on 6th June 2005 including representatives from DPOs and research institutes in the Southern Africa Region. The workshop agreed that a grass-root strategy was most suitable for doing disability research in low-income countries. The core of this strategy is DPO control and involvement, a close link between research and application, and long-term capacity building among DPOs.
The report is produced by SINTEF, in association with the Universities of Malawi and Namibia, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) and the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA).
Read the full report at Disability Knowledge and Research.
Contact at SINTEF:
Arne Henning Eide
Enumerator interviewing mother with child for the survey on living conditions among people with activity limitations in Malawi. Photo: Jarl Ovesen, FFO.