New CBM survey concludes disability-inclusion urgent priority in Guatemala

Posted on: Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017
Guatemala City/Guatemala, Project

A new survey of disability in Guatemala has shown that over 30% of households in the central American country include someone living with a disability, and that people with disabilities are more likely to be in the poorest socio-economic group, have lower access to education and are less likely to have ever married/lived with a partner than people who do not have a disability.

The Guatemala National Disability Survey (ENDIS 2016) was carried out by CBM with UNICEF, the International Centre for Evidence in Disability and the National Disability Council of Guatemala (CONADI). Its aim is to improve the data available on the number of people living with disabilities, their socio-economic situation and access to essential services like education, health and employment, so that policies and services can be developed to include them.  

Kirsty Smith, CEO of CBM UK, explains why surveys like this are vital to improve the lives of people with disabilities: “Too often, the needs of people with disabilities are overlooked and lack of data is a key reason for that. In many low and middle income countries, there is no reliable information on the number of people living with disabilities, let alone the particular challenges they face, so it’s as if they are invisible - when policies or services are developed, there is no evidence in which to base informed decisions so their needs are simply ignored. That’s why rigorous surveys like this one by CBM and partners in Guatemala aren’t just academic exercises, they’re vital tools to transform lives and build more inclusive societies.”   

The survey concludes that including people with disabilities should be an urgent priority in Guatemala, given the multiple associations identified between disability and disadvantage. CBM will work with partners to help ensure that the new evidence is used to build a more inclusive society. 

Sebastían Toledo, CEO of the National Disability Council of Guatemala, explains that it will be a key tool to bring about change: “Knowing how many people with disabilities we are, and where we are, makes this historically excluded sector visible on the country agenda, and focuses the State on meeting the requirements of this population. ENDIS 2016 is an instrument that we can use for advocacy to promote concrete actions and the creation of programs that guarantee the rights of the population with disability living in exclusion and vulnerability.”

 Key Findings

Prevalence of disability 
  • The overall prevalence of disability was 10.2 %, while  31% of the households included in the survey included at least one household member with a disability.
  • Among adults the prevalence of disability was higher for women compared to men.
  • Comparing people with and without disabilities, people with disabilities were more likely to be in the poorest socio-economic group, had lower access to education and were less likely to have ever married/lived with a partner.
Education
  • In rural areas children with disabilities (61%) were less likely to be attending school compared to children without disabilities (82%). In urban areas school attendance was over 80% for both children with and without disabilities. Girls with disabilities were significantly less likely to be attending school than girls without disabilities.
  • Children with physical or cognitive limitations had the lowest access to school and adults with physical or cognitive limitations were the least likely to work, and reported the lowest participation and quality of life scores.
Livelihoods
  • Adults with disabilities were significantly less likely to have worked in the previous week compared to adults without disabilities and had less stable livelihoods (i.e. more likely to work only once in a while compared to throughout the year).
  • People with disabilities had higher reported participation restrictions, experienced greater environmental barriers and had poorer self-rated quality of life compared to people without disabilities.
  • In the absence of safety nets and assets, families and communities are the only source of survival for disabled people.
Health and welfare
  • People with disabilities were more likely to have reported a serious health problem in the past 12 months and were more likely to have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
  • The most significant limitations are faced by people with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, challenging the stereotype that disability only means people with mobility or sensory impairments.

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