Map of Asia and the Pacific

THE WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION: AN ANALYSIS OF UNICEF MICS 3 SURVEY DATA FROM BANGLADESH, LAO PDR, MONGOLIA AND THAILAND

 

In this report we have used data from the third round of UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) conducted 2005-8 to describe the relative well-being of disabled and non-disabled children in four South Asian/Pacific countries: Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Thailand. Indicators of well-being were extracted to address issues such as the child’s right to education, health and a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
Our main findings were:

 

  1. In all four countries children with disabilities were markedly more disadvantaged than their non-disabled peers on the majority of the indicators available.
  2. In all four countries children with disabilities were markedly more disadvantaged than their non-disabled peers on indicators relating to the child’s right to education, health and an adequate standard of living.
  3. In all four countries there were notable differences between disabled children regarding the extent of disadvantage they faced. In both Bangladesh and Lao PDR, for example, children with sensory impairments fared particularly poorly. In Thailand, by contrast, children with cognitive delay fared particularly poorly.

These data are important on three counts.

  • First, they demonstrate the viability of using simple items in population surveys to identify and characterize the well-being of disabled children.
  • Second, they add to the limited evidence base on the well-being of children with disabilities in low and middle income countries.
  • Third, they illustrate the importance of disaggregating disability information by type of impairment.

UNICEF is working to establish a rigorous and systematic process for collecting data about children with disabilities, preferably as part of all ongoing data collections about children and young people locally, at national level and globally. This is critical to ensuring disabled children are not invisible in attempts to monitor global progress in improving the lives of children. The MICS module despite some limitations was an excellent first step in collecting data on children with disabilities as: (1) MICS is one of the main vehicles for monitoring progress toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;4 and (2) there is a growing consensus that achieving the Millennium Development Goals and reducing global inequalities in health and well-being will not be possible unless attention is paid to the specific situation of children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

cover of report - university header and text

 

 

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