Concept Note for Pilot Study on Universal Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

Disability is a complex issue. The concept of disability evolves from a charity to a right-based approach (ILO 2017, UN2019). It is tremendous public health as well as development concern worldwide. One billion people or 15 percent of the world population are experiencing some form of disability. Compared to the incidence of disability worldwide, scientific analysis is abysmally scanty, and not well-grounded with a robust analytical framework. As a result, most of the studies attempt to measure disability incidence with huge variability; focus on outcomes rather than exploring causal links, and very few endogenize future dynamics. As a result, most studies are partial and case-specific country diagnostic which are not anchored in solid analytical and empirical foundation (Kid et, al, 2017).

The above-protracted neglect epitomizes society’s attitude towards PWDs. These intellectual and scholastic problems compound in low income developing countries, wherein the absence of a universal definition often leads to the use of restrictive country-specific definitions based on political economy, no regular and follow up surveys are conducted resulting in periodic partial surveys, most studies are commissioned and are conducted as a part of due diligence to specific social protection program. It is not a surprise that with economic transformation in developing countries, vulnerabilities, and deprivations of PWDs have not waned in tandem. Rather, the PWDs continue to confront multifaceted vulnerabilities and marginalization with widening relative inequality.

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