Pakistan has launched its first Model Disability Survey (MDS) that would help estimate the percentage and potential of people with disability – most unheard and uncounted population of the country.
The survey can be a valuable document for the policy-makers as it would also help identify challenges faced by disabled Pakistan and define interventions needed for an inclusive society.
Pakistan is the first country after Cambodia to implement WHO’s Model Disability Survey (MDS). The survey on comprehensive information for disabilities will be jointly conducted by Pakistan government, Canadian High Commission and the World Health Organization.
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.
“This Model Disability Survey is a first step in this process of identifying an important community of valiant citizens of Pakistan who suffer from disabilities” said Her Excellency, the Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Heather Cruden on the occasion of the launching of project which would “clarify needs, resources and policies to support the people of Pakistan.”
The pilot project of the survey will be implemented by the Pakistan Baitul Mal (PBM) in Attock District. The initiative is being funded by the High Commission of Canada through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). The pilot study, to be completed in 45 days, will provide basis for a country-wide disability survey.
Barrister Abid Waheed Sheikh, Managing Director Pakistan, Bait-ul- Mal, thanking the High Commission of Canada and WHO for undertaking this initiative, said that the evidence resulting from the Survey “will help policy-makers identify the interventions required to maximize the inclusion and functioning of Pakistani citizens suffering from disabilities and to promote and protect their human rights, as endorsed in Pakistani legislation.”
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 at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany.
A two day training on the questionnaire for data collection, which has been developed by WHO and the World Bank in collaboration with the Washington Group on Disability Statistics, Statistics Norway, and a diverse range of other stakeholders, including the International Disability Alliance, was organized at the WHO office Islamabad, February 5-6, 2015.
Effective policy-making requires reliable, valid and detailed data on all aspects of disability – impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions, related health conditions, environmental factors – information that is lacking in Pakistan as in most of the developing countries.
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 disability under the Convention (CRPD, Article 31).
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people or around 15% 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%.