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Integrating geospatial data and measures of disability and wealth to assess inequalities in an eye health survey: An example from the Indian Sunderbans

et al
December 2019

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The Sunderbans are a group of delta islands that straddle the border between India and Bangladesh. For people living on the Indian side, health services are scarce and the terrain makes access to what is available difficult. In 2018, the international non-governmental organisation Sightsavers and their partners conducted a population-based survey of visual impairment and coverage of cataract and spectacle services, supplemented with tools to measure equity in eye health by wealth, disability, and geographical location. Two-stage cluster sampling was undertaken to randomly select 3868 individuals aged 40+ years, of whom 3410 were examined


Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec; 16(23): 4869

doi: 10.3390/ijerph16234869

India’s disability estimates: Limitations and way forward

RAKHI, Dandona
et al
September 2019

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With India preparing for the next decennial Census in 2021, disability estimates and data collection methodology between the Census 2011 and the most recent population-level survey for India and its states were compared, to highlight the issues to be addressed to improve robustness of the disability estimates in the upcoming Census.


Data from the Census 2011 and from two complementary nationally representative household surveys that covered all Indian states with the same methodology and survey instruments–the District-Level Household Survey-4 (DLHS-4, 2012–2013) and the Annual Health Surveys (AHS three rounds, 2010–11, 2011–12 and 2012–13) were used. Data from DLHS-4 and AHS 2012–13 round were pooled to generate estimates for the year 2012–13. Data collection methodology between the sources was compared, including the review of definitions of each type of disability. The overall, mental, visual, hearing, speech, and movement disability rate (DR) per 100,000 population were compared between the sources for India and for each state, and the percent difference in the respective rates was calculated

Operational adaptations of the trachoma pre-validation surveillance strategy employed in Ghana: successes and challenges

et al
September 2019

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In 2009 Ghana began to design a trachoma pre-validation surveillance plan, based on then-current WHO recommendations. The plan aimed to identify active trachoma resurgence and identify and manage trichiasis cases, through both active and passive surveillance approaches. This paper outlines and reviews the adaptations made by Ghana between 2011 and 2016

Infectious Diseases of Poverty volume 8, Article number: 78 (2019)

Rating early child development outcome measurement tools for routine health programme use

BOGGS, Dorothy
et al
January 2019

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Background identification of children at risk of developmental delay and/or impairment requires valid measurement of early child development (ECD). ECD measurement tools were systematically assessed for accuracy and feasibility for use in routine services in low income and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Building on World Bank and peer-reviewed literature reviews, available ECD measurement tools for children aged 0–3 years used in ≥1 LMIC were identified and matrixed according to when (child age) and what (ECD domains) they measure at population or individual level. Tools measuring <2 years and covering ≥3 developmental domains, including cognition, were rated for accuracy and feasibility criteria using a rating approach derived from Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations

Unmet needs and use of assistive products in two districts of Bangladesh: Findings from a household survey

PRYOR, Wesley
ISLAM, Qumrun Naher
JALAL, Faruk, Ahmed
MANJULA, Marella
December 2018

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Access to assistive products (AP) is an under-researched public health issue. Using an adaptation of a draft World Health Organization tool—the ‘Assistive Technology Assessment—Needs (ATA-N)’ for measuring unmet needs and use of AP, we aimed to understand characteristics of AP users, self-reported needs and unmet needs for AP, and current access patterns in Bangladesh. The ATA-N was incorporated in a Rapid Assessment of Disability (RAD), a population-based survey to estimate prevalence and correlates of disability. In each of two unions of Kurigram and Narsingdi districts, 60 clusters of 50 people each aged two years and older were selected using a two-staged cluster random sampling process, of whom, 4250 (59% Female; 41% Male) were adults, including 333 using AP. We estimate 7.1% of the studied population used any AP. AP use is positively associated with age and self-reported functional difficulty. The proportion of people using AP is higher for mobility than for sensory and cognitive difficulties. Of all people with any functional difficulty, 71% self-reported an unmet need for AP. Most products were home or self-made, at low cost, but provided benefits. Needs and unmet needs for AP are high, especially for people with greater functional difficulties. Assessing unmet needs for AP revealed important barriers to scale that can inform policy and practice.

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2901;

Using concept mapping to develop a human rights based indicator framework to assess country efforts to strengthen rehabilitation provision and policy: the Rehabilitation System Diagnosis and Dialogue framework (RESYST)

SKEMPES, Dimitrios
et al
October 2018

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The process of developing an expert guided indicator framework to assess governments’ efforts and progress in strengthening rehabilitation in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is described.  A systems methodology - concept mapping - was used to capture, aggregate and confirm the knowledge of diverse stakeholders on measures thought to be useful for monitoring the implementation of the Convention with respect to health related rehabilitation. Fifty-six individuals generated a list of 107 indicators through online brainstorming which were subsequently sorted by 37 experts from the original panel into non overlapping categories. Forty-one participants rated the indicators for importance and feasibility. Multivariate statistical techniques where used to explore patterns and themes in the data and create the indicators’ organizing framework which was verified and interpreted by a select number of participants.


Globalization and Health (2018) 14:96

Measuring disability using the Washington Group questions

August 2018

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The Washington Group was set up by the United Nations Statistical Commission. It works with countries to produce better information about people with disabilities. The Washington Group has developed useful questions for countries to use to help find out whether a person has a disability, and to help collect data and information on what the differences are between people with disabilities and people without disabilities.

World Health Organization global disability action plan: The Mongolian perspective

KHAN, Fary
et al
April 2018

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The aim of this literature review and research was to provide an update on disability and rehabilitation in Mongolia, and to identify potential barriers and facilitators for implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Disability Action Plan (GDAP). A 4-member rehabilitation team from the Royal Melbourne Hospital conducted an intensive 6-day workshop at the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, for local healthcare professionals (n=77) from medical rehabilitation facilities (urban/rural, public/private) and non-governmental organizations. A modified Delphi method (interactive sessions, consensus agreement) identified challenges for rehabilitation service provision and disability education and attitudes, using GDAP objectives


Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, Volume 50, Number 4, April 2018, pp. 358-366(9)

Disability and inclusive education - A stocktake of education sector plans and GPE-funded grants

BANHAM, Louise
et al
March 2018

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This report was commissioned by the Global Partnership for Education’s Secretariat to take stock of how disability and inclusive education are included in education sector plans in 51 countries, including GPE-funded programs, such as education sector program implementation grants, program documents, implementation progress reports education sector analysis, if applicable, and other relevant GPE program documents.

This report documents progress and highlights the need to step up support to GPE partner countries on disability and inclusive education, to improve consideration of issues around disability and inclusion in education sector analysis and sector planning processes to better promote the achievement of GPE 2020 strategic goal 2, and to fulfill the transformative vision of Agenda 2030

Education and disability: Analysis of data from 49 countries

March 2018

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Persons with a disability are among the population groups most likely to suffer from exclusion from education but data that permit an analysis of the links between disability and education remain scarce. This paper examines educational disparities linked to disability based on data from 49 countries and territories for five education indicators:

● Proportion of 15- to 29-year-olds who ever attended school

● Out-of-school rate (primary school age, lower secondary school age)

● Completion rate (primary education, lower secondary education)

● Mean years of schooling of the population 25 years and older

● Adult literacy rate (population 15 years and older)


The education indicators were calculated with data from three sources, collected between 2005 and 2015: Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) sponsored by USAID, School-to-Work Transition Surveys (SWTS) by ILO, and population census data compiled by IPUMS-International. Comparability of the data across countries is limited because only some of the surveys and censuses used questions developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics to identify persons with a disability. The accuracy of the indicator estimates is also affected by sampling and non-sampling errors in the data, the small sample size of many of the surveys that were analysed, and the relatively small proportion of persons with disabilities in each country’s population. Moreover, because of the scarcity of national data, it is currently not possible to generate statistics on the status of persons with disabilities with regard to education that are regionally or globally representative.

Information Paper No.49


Challenges in global Indigenous–Disability comparative research, or, why nation-state political histories matter

KERMIT, Patrick

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Globally, Indigenous people, also known as First Peoples, have the poorest health outcomes of all population groups, resulting in significantly higher rates of chronic disease, ill-health, and disability. Recent research strongly suggests that Australian First Peoples and the Sami peoples of the Nordic region are positioned at opposite ends of the disability–health spectrum. Australia’s First Peoples, now experience the highest rates of disability in the nation’s recorded history, despite the significant government investment over recent decades in national Indigenous policy. Yet, Nordic Indigenous populations appear to have similar health outcomes and living conditions as the rest of the population in the region. In this paper, we compare some of the global assumptions of the two leading countries of the United Nations Human Development Index– Norway (ranked first) and Australia (ranked second)– and examine the ways in which such rankings act to hide the disparities of life trajectories and outcomes for Indigenous persons living with disability compared to the rest of the population in each country. The findings of the comparative analysis illustrate core areas for consideration when undertaking in-depth comparative research with First Nation’s peoples. This includes issues surrounding the differentiated political significance of national population data systems for local Indigenous peoples in their struggles for recognition, and the nuanced processes of population data categorisation that are developed as a result of First Nation’s localised struggles for recognition, respect and rights under processes of European colonisation.


Disability and the Global South, 2018, Vol.5, No. 2, 1450-1471 

Disability inclusive humanitarian response

December 2017

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"Disasters and armed conflicts can also increase the number of persons with disabilities as people acquire new impairments and/or experience a deterioration in existing impairments from injuries and/or limited access to health care and rehabilitation. For instance, a survey of Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon found that 22 per cent had an impairment. However, accurate numbers can be hard to calculate due to lack of data disaggregation in humanitarian emergencies and differences in the way disability is defined and measured, while families may be reluctant to disclose disability due to fear of stigma and isolation. As a result, humanitarian programmes may inadequately document and consider the needs of persons with disabilities"

This short Operational Practice Paper from the Humanitarian Learning Centre offers lessons for disability inclusion in humanitarian response. 

Inclusive education and accountability mechanisms. Paper commissioned for the 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring Report, Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments

TROMP, Roseanne
October 2017

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"The adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and in particular Articles 24, 31 and 33, which requires countries to develop an inclusive education system for all children as well obliging them to implement and monitor the process, presents both a challenge and an opportunity to the countries of the world. This report discusses the advances that have been made in terms of the implementation of inclusive education system for people with disabilities, as well as the challenges that are still ahead. The UNCRPD requires ratifying countries to submit Country Reports on the implementation of the Convention to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The present report is unique in that it is based on a thorough analysis of these Country Reports. In addition, it is based on a thorough review of literature about inclusive education for people with disabilities"


HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of persons with and without disabilities from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011: Differential access to HIV/AIDS information and services

MANNAN, Hasheem
McVEIGH, Joanne
April 2017

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Uganda is among the first to use the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Disability to identify persons with disabilities in its Demographic and Health Survey. In this paper, we review the HIV Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour component of the 2011 Ugandan Demographic and Health Survey, analysing a series of questions comparing those with and without disabilities in relation to HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and practices. We found comparable levels of knowledge on HIV/AIDS for those with and those without disabilities in relation to HIV transmission during delivery (93.89%, 93.26%) and through breastfeeding (89.91%, 90.63%), which may reflect increased attention to reaching the community of persons with disabilities. However, several gaps in the knowledge base of persons with disabilities stood out, including misconceptions of risk of HIV infection through mosquito bites and caring for a relative with HIV in own household (34.39%, 29.86%; p<0.001; 91.53%, 89.00%; p = 0.001, respectively). The issue is not just access to appropriate information but also equitable access to HIV/AIDS services and support. Here we found that persons with multiple disabilities were less likely than individuals without disabilities to return to receive results from their most recent HIV test (0.60[0.41–0.87], p<0.05). HIV testing means little if people do not return for follow-up to know their HIV status and, if necessary, to be connected to available services and supports. Additional findings of note were that persons with disabilities reported having a first sexual encounter at a slightly younger age than peers without disabilities; and persons with disabilities also reported having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) within the last 12 months at significantly higher rates than peers without disabilities (1.38[1.18–1.63], p<0.01), despite reporting comparable knowledge of the need for safer sex practices. This analysis is among the first to use HIV/AIDS-related questions from Demographic Health Surveys to provide information about persons with disabilities in Uganda in comparison to those without disabilities. These findings present a more complex and nuanced understanding of persons with disabilities and HIV/AIDS. If persons with disabilities are becoming sexually active earlier, are more likely to have an STD within the preceding 12 month period and are less likely to receive HIV test results, it is important to understand why. Recommendations are also made for the inclusion of disability measures in Uganda’s AIDS Indicator Survey to provide cyclical and systematic data on disability and HIV/AIDS, including HIV prevalence amongst persons with disabilities.

PLoS ONE 12(4): e0174877

Counting disability: emerging consensus on the Washington Group questionnaire

MONT, Daniel

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The issuing of a statement by the Interagency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicators in Geneva, a group of leading UN agencies, civil society actors, and independent experts strongly supporting the Washington Group on Disability Statistics’ Short Set of Questions (WGSS) is noted and a short explanation of the questions is provided.


The Lancet Global Health VOLUME 5, ISSUE 7, PE649-E650, JULY 01, 2017

The burden of mental disorders in the eastern Mediterranean region, 1990-2013

et al
January 2017

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The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) is witnessing an increase in chronic disorders, including mental illness. With ongoing unrest, this is expected to rise. This is the first study to quantify the burden of mental disorders in the EMR. Data was used from the Global Burden of Disease study (GBD) 2013. DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) allow assessment of both premature mortality (years of life lost–YLLs) and nonfatal outcomes (years lived with disability–YLDs). DALYs are computed by adding YLLs and YLDs for each age-sex-country group.

Chap. 2: Intervention Cost-Effectiveness: Overview of Main Messages

DT, Jamison
JG, Breman
AR, Measham
et al
September 2016

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"Although efficient spending on health has always been a desirable goal, it is particularly critical in the face of recent threats, such as HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant bacteria, as well as the problems presented by increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), that threaten to roll back the significant health gains achieved in the past two decades. This book is an opportunity to assess anew the costs associated with and the health gains attainable from specific interventions and thereby better inform the allocation of new health funding." 

Interventions for children affected by armed conflict: a systematic review of mental health and psychosocial support in low- and middle-income countries

JORDANS, Mark. J. D.
TOL, Wietse A
January 2016

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Over one billion children under the age of 18 live in countries affected by armed conflict. This systematic review replicates an earlier study, aiming to provide a comprehensive update of the most current developments in interventions for children affected by armed conflict. For the period 2009– 2015, a total of 1538 records were collected. Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria, and the included interventions involve data from 4858 children. Two types of analysis were conducted. First, for an account of intervention descriptions, thematic analysis was used to summarise themes, with a specific focus on cultural adaptations. Second, all evaluation studies reporting quantitative data were categorised into level of evidence (1 = randomized controlled trials, all types; 2 = quasi-experimental design and controlled studies; 3 = non-controlled design; 4 = case studies) 

Current Psychiatry Reports, vol 18 (9), doi:10.1007/s11920-015-0648-z

Inter-agency and expert group on the sustainable development goal Indicators : tentative timeline, work plan and organization of work

July 2015

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A brief guide on the prospective Sustainable Development Agenda from the Inter-Agency and Expert Group, giving a tentative outline as to the timescale that will be followed in the deliberation and creation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. This guide begins with a table overview of this timescale and is then followed by a description on how the work within the group is to be aggregated and organised

Discussion papers on the theme of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, submitted by major groups and other stakeholders

May 2015

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A compendium of papers from various stakeholders setting out “established and maintained effective coordination mechanisms” for the high-level discussions on sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda

High-level political forum on sustainable development, Convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, 26 June-8 July 2015




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