Pakistan lacks data to address persons with disabilities problems

Asia-Pacific, July 13 2015

ISLAMABAD: Despite signatory to the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there is no statistical data in Pakistan to identify or address the barriers faced by people with disabilities.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people or around 15 per cent of the world’s population have some sort of disability, whereas the prevalence of disability in Pakistan is estimated by the Population Census 1998 at 2.49 per cent.

Effective policy-making requires reliable, valid and detailed data on all aspects of disability, activity limitations, participation restrictions, related health conditions, environmental factors-information that is lacking in Pakistan as in most of the developing countries.

It said there is no standardized instrument for data collection on disability that provides comprehensive and systematic documentation of all aspects of functioning in a population.

Pakistan has ratified the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in July 2011 which requires governments to collect statistical and research data to identify and address barriers faced by people with disabilities under the Convention (CRPD, Article 31).

However, on Monday, the offer was given to Pakistan by Canadian High Commission for launching a comprehensive data collection process so that the number and problems of people with disabilities could be ascertained.

The Canadian High Commission in collaboration with the Pakistan-Bait-ul- Mal, the WHO, as lead agency in Disabilities in the UN system, is conducting the Model Disability Survey (MDS).

On the occasion of the launching of the joint WHO-Canada Model Disability Survey project, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said: “We are very pleased to be collaborating with the WHO in Pakistan to clarify needs, resources and policies to support the people of Pakistan.

This Model Disability Survey is a first step in this process of identifying an important community of valiant citizens of Pakistan with disabilities.

The Model Disability Survey (MDS) will be a pilot study to provide detailed and information on the lives of people with disability in the Attock district. The initiative is being funded by the High Commission of Canada through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).

At the concluding session, Barrister Abid Waheed Sheikh, Managing Director Pakistan, Bait-ul- Mal thanked the High Commission of Canada and WHO for undertaking this initiative and said that the evidence resulting from the MDS will help policy-makers identify the interventions required to maximize the inclusion and functioning of Pakistani citizens with disabilities.

WHO Country Representative Dr Michel Thieren underlined the fact that MDS provides more complete understanding of the lived experience of people with disability and provides a better approximation of the true size and potential of the most unheard and uncounted population with disability.

It will also offer estimates for tracking Federal/Provincial trends and making international comparisons, facilitating developing disability inclusive development policies/strategies resulting in mainstreaming of Persons with Disabilities in an inclusive society.

Dr Maryam Mallick, Technical Advisor for Medical Rehabilitation, WHO, indicated that the data analysis and report generation of the MDS survey will be conducted by the Institute for Public Health and Health Services Research, Department of Medical Informatics Epidemiology and Research Unit, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany. Pakistan is the second country in the world implementing the Model Disability Survey in a representative sample of a region and will provide the basis for a country wide disability.

This survey will also provide information about how the MDS can be used to monitor the implementation of UNCRPD.
Model Disability Survey will facilitate the monitoring of the situation of people with disability, to make sure they are not left behind in the wake of development progress, and to identify ways to include disability in national/provincial Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Source: The Nation

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