Disability Inclusion in Primary Health Care in Nepal: An Explorative Study of Perceived Barriers to Access Governmental Health Services


Publication Date 

19 pp

Purpose: Persons with disabilities face additional barriers in accessing primary healthcare services, especially in developing countries. Consequently the prevalence of secondary health conditions is higher among this population. This study aims to explore the perceived barriers to access primary healthcare services by persons with disabilities in the Western region of Nepal.


Methods: 10 primary healthcare providers and 11 persons with disabilities (physically or visually impaired) were selected by non-governmental organisations from the hilly and lower areas. Based on the International Classification of Functioning and the health accessibility model of Institute of Medicine, semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using analytical induction.


Results: In general, healthcare providers and persons with disabilities reported similar barriers. Transportation and the attitude of family members and the community were the main environmental barriers. Even with assistive devices, people still depend on their families. Financial barriers were lack of funds for health expenses, problems in generating an income by persons with disabilities themselves, and the low socio-economic status of their families. Personal barriers, which affect help-seeking behaviour in a major way, were most often mentioned in relation to financial and socio-environmental barriers. Low self-esteem of the person with disability determines the family’s attitude and the motivation to seek out healthcare. Lastly, poor public awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities was reported.


Conclusions: Besides the known physical environmental barriers, this study found several environmental, financial and personal barriers that also affect access to primary healthcare. In particular, the attitudes of families and poor financial conditions seem to be interrelated and greatly influence help-seeking behaviour.

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Country focus 



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