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Lack of data hampers planning

Ferdous Ara

Lack of credible data on people with disability remains the main barrier to mainstreaming them in society, said experts on the eve of International Day for People with Disabilities.
Today is International Day of People with Disabilities.
It is utterly regrettable that since independence no government took the initiative to hold a credible survey on people with disabilities, said NGOs working with disabled persons.
Statistics is very important for planning and budget allocation for the disabled people’s safety net programmes.
A huge confusion persists in the country regarding its total disabled population, Action on Disability and Development country director Mosharraf Hossain told New Age.
The 2011 census estimates show that 1.8 per cent of the Bangladesh population as disabled up from 0.47 per cent shown by the 2001 census, he said.
That is according to the latest census approximately 20.17 lakh people have disabilities, he said.
He described the 2011 census report as not at all ‘credible.’
Both the census exercise failed to record the actual number of disabled people in the country, he said.
In sharp contrast, he said, 9.7 per cent of the country’s total population were disabled according to the estimates of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2010.
He described the household survey gave a more realistic picture of the disabled population in the country.
He expressed doubts how far the Department of Social Service, with its manpower shortage and lack of experience in the area, would be able to carry out a credible ‘Disability Detection Survey’ it undertook in April 2013.
National Forum of Organization Working with the Disabled executive director Nafisur Rahman also expressed similar disappointments.
Due to loopholes in the data collection process, he said, many people with disabilities were left out of the primary listing.
Nafis described official data as ‘very important’ for all planning, fund distribution and safety net programmes for the disabled. That is why, he said, a correct survey was of crucial importance.
Disability Detection Survey project director at the Department of Social Service Md Monirul Islam said that a pilot survey report show the country’s disabled at 1.4 per cent of the total population.He said that the pilot exercise was done before the actual survey.
He said the survey would be a continuous process to include all the disabled people in the country in the database.
Monirul Islam said doctors were trained in the 2nd phase of the survey to identify the types and levels of disabilities in the country.
He said that the Department of social Service would create a central database of the country’s disabled population with support from UNICEF.
Monir said that the first phase of the ongoing survey recorded 15, 65,288 disabled people in the country excluding the cantonment areas.

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