Purpose: There is very little demographic or prevalence data regarding persons with disabilities in Ethiopia, let alone data on more in-depth factors such as access to services or quality of life. This study aimed to find out about the current quality of life of persons with disabilities in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), Ethiopia.
Method: The WHO CBR Indicator Survey was used to measure quality of life, and the Washington Group Short Set was included to allow disaggregation of the data by different types of functional limitations. Interviews were conducted with 966 persons with disabilities in 10 towns in SNNPR. The majority of data collectors were persons with disabilities themselves.
Results: People with disabilities who were surveyed generally regarded their health as good (65.9%). Very few had significant levels of education (16.5% were completing higher education). Only 6.7% were working for wages and 45.2% were reportedly working on their own account. Hardly any of them (2.9%) stated that their money was sufficient for their needs. Only a small group (38%) felt valued in their community. Just over half of the respondents (56.6%) were members of a Disabled Persons’ Organisation (DPO) or any other self-representing group.
Conclusion: Persons with disabilities scored relatively or extremely low in all areas of life measured with the CBR Indicator Survey (health, education, livelihood, social and empowerment). The survey will be repeated after a few years in the same communities to measure changes over time, and persons without disabilities will be included in order to draw comparisons.
Implications: Public and private organisations in SNNPR need to become more accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities so as to improve their quality of life.