The survey is being conducted with support from the Canadian High Commission and collaboration from Pakistan-Bait-Ul Mal.
On the occasion, the Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Heather Cruden said: “we are very pleased to be collaborating with the World Health Organisation 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 who suffer from disabilities”.
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%. 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.
The Model Disability Survey (MDS) will be a pilot study to provide detailed and nuanced 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).
Disability experts from WHO Headquarters, Geneva and Country office conducted the training session.
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 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 said 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.