The Leprosy Mission Nigeria conducted a disability survey in Kogi and Niger States of Nigeria in 2005, investigating the demographic characteristics of people with disabilities, including gender, age, religion, marital, educational, occupational, employment and economic status, understanding of disability and health-seeking behaviour.
Information was gathered from a convenience sample of participants, across 30 randomly selected towns and villages in the two states. Twelve trained bilingual research assistants were used, to translate the English language questionnaire verbally into the local language of each participant.
From the 1093 respondents studied, the most common disabilities involved vision (37%), mobility (32%) or hearing (15%). A third of these were less than 21 years of age and had no occupation, and 72% were Muslim. Over half of them had no education, 20% had primary, 8% secondary, 2% tertiary and 18% had Islamic education. Common occupations were begging (16%), studying (14%), farming (11%) and trading (8%). The majority were unemployed (61%) due to their disability. Over 70% were not able to access disability specific health services and 37% had an assistive device. Services accessed included health - mainstream (90%), traditional (61%) and counselling (58%); and other - rehabilitation (30%), assistive device provision (24%), welfare (22%), special education (15%), vocational training (10%) and economic empowerment (4%).
These results are comparable with findings in other studies. Disability affects a person’s ability to participate in education, work, family life and religion, influences health-seeking behaviour and contributes to poverty.