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Disability, health and human development

MITRA, Sophie

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This open access book introduces the human development model to define disability and map its links with health and wellbeing, based on Sen’s capability approach. The author uses panel survey data with internationally comparable questions on disability for Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. It presents evidence on the prevalence of disability and its strong and consistent association with multidimensional poverty, mortality, economic insecurity and deprivations in education, morbidity and employment. It shows that disability needs to be considered from multiple angles including aging, gender, health and poverty. Ultimately, this study makes a call for inclusion and prevention interventions as solutions to the deprivations associated with impairments and health conditions.


Chapters include:

  • The Human Development Model of Disability, Health and Wellbeing
  • Measurement, Data and Country Context
  • Prevalence of Functional Difficulties
  • Functional Difficulties and Inequalities Through a Static Lens
  • Dynamics of Functional Difficulties and Wellbeing
  • Main Results and Implications


Disability, health and human development

MITRA, Sophie
October 2017

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This book presents new research on disability, health, and wellbeing in four countries (Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda) . The primary focus is empirical. It also makes a conceptual contribution as it presents a new model of disability based on the human development and capability approach. It addresses four questions: 

  • How should disability be defined to analyse and inform policies related to wellbeing?
  • What is the prevalence of functional difficulties?
  • What inequalities are associated with functional difficulties?
  • What are the economic consequences of functional difficulties? 

Detailed data analysis using large-scale household survey datasets is combined with an interactional model of disability based on Amartya Sen’s capability approach.


DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-53638-9


First of book series: the Palgrave Studies in Disability and International Development

Mapping persons with disabilities (PWD) in Indonesia labour market: final report

Institute for Economic and Social Research Faculty of Economics and Business – University of Indonesia

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Statistics Indonesia (BPS) launched its first national labour force survey (Sakernas) in 2016, with data involving disability. Although Sakernas only included one question regarding disability in the survey, it enables analysis on the current situation of PWD in the labour market which can improve policy design on persons with disabilities (PWD). This study attempted to map the condition of PWD in the Indonesian labour market using 2016 Sakernas data. The main point to be explored from the data is the socio-economic condition of PWD, the characteristics of employed PWD, and the wage distribution of PWD. The analysis is compared to the condition of people without disabilities (PWOD), for relevant context.


The report is presented in three parts. First, literature reviews regarding the definition and different measurements of disability, labour force participation of PWD and wage difference of PWD compared to PWOD are discussed. Second, a comprehensive elaboration of Sakernas 2016 on the relation of working status and socio-economic characteristics of PWD is presented, including the following: socio-economic characteristics between employed PWD and employed PWOD, income disparities between PWD and PWOD and the characteristics between employed and unemployed PWD. Third, an econometric model to test whether there is a significant difference in the probability of PWD securing employment and the criteria for employable PWD is examined.

Estimation of Zika virus prevalence by appearance of microcephaly

van den DRIESSCHE, P
December 2016

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There currently is a severe Zika Virus (ZIKV) epidemic in Brazil and other South American countries. Due to international travel, this poses severe public health risk of ZIKV importation to other countries. We estimate the prevalence of ZIKV in an import region by the time a microcephaly case is detected, since microcephaly is presently the most significant indication of ZIKV presence. A mathematical model to describe ZIKV spread from a source region to an import region was established. This model incorporates both vector transmission (between humans and mosquitoes) and sexual transmission (from males to females). Account was taken of population structure through a contact network for sexually active individuals. Parameter values of the model are either taken from the literature or estimated from travel data

BMC Infectious Diseases (2016) 16:754 DOI 10.1186/s12879-016-2076-z

Participatory and emancipatory approach in disability research. Possible allies for supporting active citizenship, civil rights and actions of social innovation.

August 2016

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Participatory and emancipatory approaches in disability research are addressed through three research questions related to: the extent the participatory approach can encourage an active citizenship paradigm for the involvement of disabled people; the extent emancipation through research can contribute to the affirmation of a civil rights model of disability; and the extent it is possible to consider these approaches as tools that can support the design and implementation of socially innovative actions. The paper considers the academic literature and a reviews international documents, assuming a disability perspective

Considering Disability Journal. DOI: 10.17774/CDJ12015.2.2057584

The need for a rehabilitation model to address the disparities of public healthcare for people living with HIV in South Africa

CHETTY, Verusia
June 2015

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This article advocates for the development and implementation of a model of care to guide rehabilitation of people living with HIV in South Africa. The paper begins by presenting the emerging evidence of rehabilitation in the context of HIV, and goes on to identify appropriate steps to develop a model of care based on this that would be applicable to South Africa

African Journal of Disability 4(1), Art. #137

Disability and the League of Nations: the Crippled Child’s Bill of Rights and a call for an International Bureau of Information, 1931

December 2013

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In Disability Studies the evolution of conceptual models is often portrayed as linear, with a nineteenth-century charity model shifting to the medical model that dominated disability discourse in the twentieth century. This is then assumed to be largely unchallenged until the 1970s, when an emergent Disability Rights Movement re-framed issues into the social model, from which evolved a rights-based model. This paper documents two early efforts to address disability issues submitted to the League of Nations: the Crippled Child’s Bill of Rights in 1931 and a ‘Memorial’ requesting the establishment of an International Bureau of Information on Crippled Children in 1929. Neither submission achieved its stated goals, yet both reflect early attempts to place disability within wider social contexts.
Disability & Society, Volume 29, Issue 4, 2014, pp. 503-515

Task allocation model for rescue disabled persons in disaster area with help of volunteers

ARAI, Kohei
SANG, Tran Xuan
UYEN, Nguyen Thi

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This article presents an example of a task allocation model for search and rescue persons with disability in case of a disaster.   Persons with disabilities are helped by volunteer in emergency situations.  The decision of who the volunteer should help and where to go is solved by using a combinatorial auction mechanism.  Different scenarios are offered using the RoboCup Rescue simulation platform

International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, Vol 2, No 7

The social model of disability


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Using the social model of disability which promotes inclusion and positive action for disabled people, this report explores ways in which disabled people can overcome isolation from, and discrimination by, mainstream society. It discusses appropriate use of language when talking about disability issues, and gives recommendations on how the information needs of most disabled people can be met. This resource would be of interest to those working in the disability sector
Note: this publication is available on request in the following formats: braille, large print, audio, electronic format

Disability and sanitation : soap and toilets

JONES, Hazel
JANSZ, Shamila
August 2008

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This paper presents water, sanitation and hygiene issues in the context of disability. It examines the implications for WaterAid's work, what issues need to be considered, and the comparative advantages of different starting points and approaches. It would be useful for practitioners interested in inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives for people with disabilities

Evaluating functional & economic outcomes of the mental health development model in North Karnataka, India

MISHRA, Subrat Kumar
et al

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“Poverty and mental illness compound one another, creating an environment of despair for some of the most vulnerable people in low and middle-income countries. Mental health intervention programmes in resource-poor settings such as rural Northern India must understand and address the economic burden of mental illness, in addition to clinical and functional outcomes. The BasicNeeds [BN]- Nav Bharat Jagruti Kendra [NBJK] intervention programme, located in rural Northern India, aims to improve quality of life for people with mental disorders and their families, through treatment, livelihoods and capacity building interventions based on the Mental Health and Development Model. This prospective evaluation assessed economic outcomes of 138 people with mental disorders involved in the BN-NBJK programme over a period of two years”

Applying Freirian model for development and evaluation of community-based rehabilitation programmes


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The purpose of this article is to reify and adopt the heuristics from Paulo Freire's model of adult education for possible application in development and evaluation of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programmes in developing countries. An extensive review of literature spanning from Freire's original writings to application of his teachings was done. Besides adult education, Freire's model has been used in community organisation, health education, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, development work in agrarian cultures, and coalition building. The effectiveness of this model has generally been measured qualitatively. In order to quantitatively transcribe this model, five distinct constructs comprising of dialogue, conscientisation, praxis, transformation, and critical consciousness were identified. Specific directions for quantitative applications for developing and evaluating community-based rehabilitation programmes using these constructs are presented. The model of Freire offers lot of potential in developing and evaluating community-based rehabilitation programmes

Communities of practice and networks : reviewing two perspectives on social learning

May 2005

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This article examines the similarities between the concepts of 'community of practice' and 'networking for learning'. This article examines the common elements, and discusses the approaches, the characteristics, theoretical background and importance for development of each model. Next, similarities based on conceptions of social learning are explored. Finally, it is argued that communities of practice and networks for learning are part of the same continuum with varying degrees of formality, ranging from informal communities of practice to highly formal networks for learning. This article provides a valuable, relatively accessible introduction to the ideas of "networking" and "community of practice", discusses how they have evolved and explores how they can be useful to the development sector

Organisational learning in NGOs : creating the motive, means and opportunity

March 2005

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This paper explores the importance of organisational learning in NGOs. It examines why NGOs need to provide the motive, means and opportunity for organisational learning, and introduces practical examples of how pioneering NGOs are doing this. The Paper recognises that learning is understood differently across cultures and contexts but that most current models are based on a Western understanding. There is therefore a need to engage with capacity building practitioners to explore innovative approaches which are relevant, appropriate and accessible across a wide range of cultures and contexts

Towards equality : creation of the disability movement in Central Asia

KATSUI, Hisayo

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This study looks at a political approach to civic activism in the field of disability, which is an approach that the two fields of development studies and disability studies have begun to focus on as a driving force for susatinable structural change.
The findings in the study are based on interviews conducted with Central Asian disabled people. Three main findings emerged: a vulnerability creation mechanism for disabled people, the heterogeneity of disabled people and the implications for equality

Primary health care and community based rehabilitation : implications for physical therapy

BURY, Tracy

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[Author's abstract]: The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is committed to the development of Primary Health Care and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR). The number of disabled people is increasing steadily with only a minority receiving accessible and appropriate rehabilitation services. The terms primary health care and community-based rehabilitation are open to interpretation, although internationally recognised statements/ definitions exist. The general concepts and principles involved are generally agreed worldwide but the nature of services referred to by the terms varies internationally. There is a need for a stronger orientation towards rehabilitation in primary health care services, balanced with the current emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Health care systems vary worldwide; this requires a flexible, responsive and innovative approach to developing services that are reflective of local needs, environments and available resources. Physical therapy provision is insufficient for the needs of most countries, therefore service delivery models need to be developed that result in the skills and knowledge of physical therapists meeting the needs of a higher proportion of those in need. Additionally, physical therapy professional education needs to equip physical therapists with the appropriate knowledge and skills to work in a variety of settings as well as promoting the value of working in these settings. Physical therapists and others should be aware of the implications of the international review of CBR and ready to take appropriate action

Reifying capability theory in disability and rehabilitation research


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[Author's abstract]: Use of theory helps in improving practice. Research in disability and rehabilitation can benefit by using a microeconomics theory called Capability Theory by Amartya Sen. The purpose of this brief report is to discern measurable constructs of the Capability Theory and reify these constructs for use in disability and rehabilitation research. Based on review of literature pertaining to Capability Theory the constructs and applications are identified. Five constructs of this theory have been identified and defined, namely, exchange entitlements, characteristics, capabilities, functionings and well-being. Implications for using each of these constructs in disability and rehabilitation research have been discussed. Capability theory argues for egalitarian access to capabilities for all. Educational and policy level interventions can be designed to modify the construct of capabilities, in persons with disabilities

Disability and human rights


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This Key list highlights essential information resources on disability and human rights. The perception of disability has been changing over the last 20 years. Previous models focused on medical treatment or charitable support; these are slowly being replaced by holistic and social approaches. References to disabled people's rights play an important role in this shift in focus from disabled people alone to society as a whole. In the medical and charity models, disabled people tended to be positioned as the 'problem' and in need of treatment, whereas in the holistic social approaches, it is recognised that attitudes and policies toward disabled people as well as inaccessible environments are the main reasons for disability. Human rights are becoming more important in the disability movement in terms of programming, implementation and advocacy



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