Measuring Disability in an Urban Slum Community in India using the Washington Group Questionnaire
The Washington Group questionnaire (WGQ) on functioning was developed for national censuses. It is
recommended by the UN but there are few studies employing the WGQ in India. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of
disability using this tool: to examine if it identifies disability better than the census. Method: We performed a systematic
sample survey using the WGQ in the community health project area covering a population of 50,000 residents. 2203
individuals were administered the questionnaire. Results: The age and sex distribution of the sample studied matched the
national census data 2011. 41 individuals with a disability were identified. The prevalence of disability in our sample was
1.86 % (95% CI 1.3%-2.43%) compared to 2.21% in India-census-2011.Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of
prevalence at different ages showed that age >44 years provided the best discrimination in identifying disability. (p-value
<0.0001 and AUC 0.806). The odds ratio of disability was 10.1 above this age compared with those below that age. (95% CI
5.1 to 20). Conclusion: The WGS did not elicit better data on disability prevalence than that acquired by the Census.
Another study from India by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that self-reporting identifies only a third
of the cases of disability. More direct and leading questions may be needed to allow the disabled in developing countries to
feel empowered to point to barriers which prevent their full participation in society.
Key Words - Activity limitation, participation restriction, International Classification of Functioning, Sustainable