Dr Manjula Marella1, Liem Nguyen1, Chandalin Vongvilay2, Donna Koolmees2, Alounny Keosouvanh2, Chantavad Nalesouphan2, Somphet Keovongxay2, Fleur Smith1, Alex Robinson1, Wesley Pryor1
1Nossal Institute For Global Health, The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2World Education Laos, , Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) projects are being implemented in two districts of the Lao PDR as part of the USAID Okard Activity, which is a five-year program to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their households. A baseline survey was undertaken in the two target districts (Xayphouthong and Kham) for the CBID project. A cross-sectional population-based household survey using a two-stage cluster random sampling was undertaken with 5,158 respondents from both districts. In addition, a qualitative study comprising key informant interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders, people with disabilities and their families and community members was undertaken. There are a significant proportion of people with disabilities in both districts with a prevalence of 13.3% in Kham and 9.9% in Xayphouthong districts. People with disabilities are more likely to be older, have lower living standards, have lower education levels, unemployed and have poorer health and wellbeing than people without disabilities. People with disabilities are less likely to participate in the communities and social gatherings and have poor access to services. Barriers to participation and accessing services can be largely attributed to negative attitudes in the community, lack of accessible services and means to travel to services.
Dr Manjula Marella is a Senior Research Fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, The University of Melbourne. Her research interests are measurement of disability and its impact, evaluation of disability inclusive development programs and development and validation of client-reported outcome measures using qualitative and quantitative techniques.