ICED Newsletter: June 2018

Dear all,

Slightly late this month – but it has been one of those months!

We are excited to launch the reports of our research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in the social protection programmes in Nepal and Vietnam, funded by DFAT. Our research showed that need for social protection was high among people with disabilities, but that they faced a range of barriers in accessing services, and that amounts paid were insufficient to meet needs. Find all the reports and policy documents here. We are still busy with our work on social protection, and due to start the follow-up for our impact study of the Disability Allowance in the Maldives after the summer.

We have started the second run of our online course on Global Health and Disability last month. More than 1000 people have already signed up, and we are enjoying lots of interactions with people from all over the world and a massive range of backgrounds and experiences. It’s not too late to join – you can still sign up here.

Are you excited about the Global Disability Summit in London in July? We are – and grateful and proud that DFID has set up this amazing initiative. If you are in town next month for the event – please be in touch and come and visit!

The Disability and Eye Health Group at LSHTM of which ICED is a part of is also recruiting for a Group Operations & Senior Projects Manager (Maternity Cover). If you would like to find out more about the role please click here for the job description.
Closing date is the 14th June 2018.

In the meantime… keep reading to learn more about our papers, seminars, work on WASH and more!

Best wishes,

Hannah Kuper

International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

We have reached more than 1700 followers on Twitter – please follow us @ICED_LSHTM.


It’s been a busy month for publications! First off- the reports of our research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in the social protection programmes in Nepal and Vietnam, funded by DFAT, as described above.

Sarah Polack and colleagues published an article in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology on malnutrition and feeding practices of children with cerebral palsy in Ghana. They showed that poor nutritional status was common (over half showed signs of malnourishment), as were reported difficulties in feeding, and that these factors related to poor quality of life of care-givers. The interpretation is that among rural, low resource populations in Ghana, there is a need for appropriate, accessible caregiver training and support around feeding practices of children with CP, to improve child nutritional status and caregiver well-being.

Tess Bright and colleagues published the results of a hearing impairment survey in India, in which they found that 4.5% of people had “disabling” hearing loss, and that the prevalence increased rapidly with age. These findings suggest that there are a substantial number of individuals with hearing impairment who could potentially benefit from improved access to low-cost interventions.

Suresh Kumar and colleagues published in BMJ Open their protocol for a randomized controlled trial of a smartphone-enabled, carer-supported, educational intervention for people in India who have experienced a stroke. Data collection will start soon.

Tracey Smythe and colleagues published their paper in International Health on indicators to assess the functionality of clubfoot clinics in low-resource settings, which they derived through a Delphi consensus approach and pilot study. They derived a 10 item score that allowed a “good” service to be defined, and showed that useful information was obtained on how to improve the services in the Zimbabwe clubfoot programme.

We also published two papers on access to WASH among people with disabilities… but turn to the next section to read all about them.

Focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

ICED’s first venture into research on access to WASH among people with disabilities was through a qualitative investigation by Sian White and colleagues, which explored barriers to WASH access in Malawi. This research found that difficulties accessing WASH was a major problem in the lives of people with disabilities, and that it impacted on dignity and health. As a next step, Adam Biran and colleagues undertook a cluster-randomised trial to assess whether access to sanitation could be improved through a disability-inclusive community-led total sanitation (CLTS) intervention, again in Malawi. CLTS is a common method for promoting sanitation in low-income settings. The trial showed some success: In the intervention arm, people with disabilities were more likely to participate in a community meeting about sanitation and to have been visited to discuss sanitation. More intervention households improved latrine access for the disabled member, though this did not quite reach statistical significance.

One of the concerns around this topic is that the methods used to measure access to WASH were too crude to measure differences between people with and without disabilities. Two papers published by ICED this month allows these questions to be explored in more detail. A study by Mactaggart looked at access to WASH for people with disabilities from 5 studies in 4 countries. They found that people with disabilities were not less likely to live in a household that had access to improved sanitation or water sources. But, within households people with disabilities reported more difficulties in collecting water themselves or accessing the same sanitation facilities as other household members, particularly without coming into contact with faeces. This means that access alone is not a sufficient measure, but more nuanced aspects of access, such as quality of access, should also be considered. As a consequence, we developed a new scale to measure access to WASH more fully, focusing on quality and appropriateness of access. Using this tool in Guatemala, we showed that there were large differences between people with and without disabilities in access to WASH, which were not apparent if we asked only if the facility was available.

The take-home message is that more data collection is needed on access to WASH in relation to disability, using detailed tools to detect differences, highlight which interventions are needed, and to allow assessment of their effectiveness. This is true for WASH, but also other aspects of participation, including in schooling, livelihood, healthcare and beyond.


Upcoming Seminars and Events at LSHTM

You can find all our previous seminars (including the audio recordings and slides) here.

  • *Today* – Hannah Kuper will be presenting on “Disability and NCDs; What is the link?” Tuesday June 12, 12:45-2pm, John Snow Lecture Theatre, LSHTM. With the Centre for Global Chronic Conditions.
  • Last week Maria Zuurmond gave a seminar on Youth researchers with disabilities in Nepal conduct research on adolescent wellbeing – lessons learnt! If you missed it – or our other seminars – you can watch them here.


Work Experience Programme at ICED

We have launched our work experience programme for people with disabilities seeking experience in research. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about joining our team in this capacity: .

Seminars and Events outside of LSHTM

Other things of interest


  • Sarah Polack and I are guest editing a special edition on “Disability and Global Health” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The deadline for submission is July 31 – more information on the call is available here.
  • This year’s Global Mental Health Summer School will take place from 26-29 June. This four-day course, designed and taught by members of the Centre for Global Mental Health, will provide participants with an in depth understanding of the issues encompassed by the discipline of GMH including: the public health significance of mental health in a global context; the challenges involved in scaling up evidence-based interventions to close the ‘treatment gap’ and the application of epidemiological and health systems research methodologies in furtherance of the global mental health agenda.
  • Challenges of Cancer and Disability Study (CoCaDS) is looking for participants. If you have a physical impairment and have had cancer, please consider taking part in an interview-based study. Our aim is to improve cancer care for disabled people. Please contact Dikaios Sakellariou:

We are making every effort to make all our research findings widely available, and have launched a Resource Webpage where you can find our key reports and manuals.

Have you seen this?

To celebrate the World Health Assembly’s support of the resolution on Assistive Technology – watch this BBC short on what happens when Disability meets Tech (15 minutes )

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