Measuring Disability

Date/Location: July 17, 2013; 8:30 – 9:30; UNICEF House

Key Speakers: Dr. Leslie Davidson( Professor of Epidemiology of Columbia University); Jennifer Madans ( Representative of the National Center for Health Statistics and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics)

Attended by: Janice H.W. Wong; Sunny T.C. Hor

Written by Janice H.W. Wong

Building the Future we wantThis event marks the start of the three-day forum on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held in the United Nations. Although child disability is not included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is closely related to three goals in the MDGs- maternal death, poverty and universal education.

UNICEF pointed out that the current data collection and research on disability are not sufficient. UNICEF has been working on studying how children’s access to education is affected by disability and the environment; also the barriers preventing the full participation of people with disability.

Dr. Leslie Davidson mentioned in her presentation that the International Classification of Functioning,Disability and Health (ICF) provides a common language to facilitate communication between different sectors. Environmental factors and personal factors are identified in the study of the risk factors of disability. Due to the availability of resources and expertise, high income countries and low and middle income countries often adopt different research methodology and have different definitions for different terminologies.

The difference in the nature and quality of data collected makes the comparison of results inaccurate. Participation in national survey, such as Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), is highly encouraged. Jennifer Madans introduced the work of the Washington Group in setting standard for statistics collection and its other efforts in improving the collection of data for measuring disability. She introduced some of the projects done by the group. She underscored the importance for the betterment of data collection, which is often ignored by a lot of parties.

People with disability deserve greater international attention. Collection of data for measuring disability is crucial, the challenges we faced now must be addressed.

Edited By; Wayne Dean Doyle

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