Lessons from disability counting in Ecuador, with a contribution from primary health care

Debrouwere Inge*, Álvarez Vera Pedro Celestino, Pavón Benítez Ximena Del Carmen, Rosero Arboleda Celia Katherine, Prinzie Peter, Lebeer Jo

*Corresponding author for this work

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Disability data are essential for policy. Yet, the predominant use of disability prevalence for service planning reflects dichotomous counting, increasingly less compatible with current disability thinking. Difficulties relate to variations in rates, the lack of matching with needs, and the use of prevalence to compare disability situations. From the perspective of Primary Health Care (PHC), we explore methods for disability counting regarding the usefulness of prevalences in identifying persons with disabilities and meeting their needs with local service implementation. First, we analyze the methods and results of six national cross-sectional studies in Ecuador. Then, we present a case about an exploratory needs-driven method for disability counting in a local PHC setting. The analysis of variations in rates focuses the attention on reasons for and risks of a priori exclusion of persons with disabilities from services. Longitudinal disability counting as a collateral result of meeting needs in the PHC setting yields local disability data worthy of further exploration. Thinking about disability counting from a PHC scope in a developing country prompted reflection on the comparison of prevalences to evaluate disability situations. Findings invite further exploration of the needs-driven counting method, its contributions to planning local services, and complementarity with cross-sectional disability counting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5103
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Marie-Marguerite De la Croix Foundation for Research on the Prevention of Disability (Tienen, Belgium) funded the initial phase of this research project (2010?2012). The authors are grateful for their support. Further research development received no external funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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