Research at LSHTM covers a vast number and diversity of subjects and disciplines in international health, with projects in every corner of the world.

Some researchers at LSHTM focus on specific impairments, such as blindness and mental health.  Many more groups focus on health issues for which disability can be major outcome (e.g. maternal health, road crashes) or for which people with disabilities need specific consideration to ensure their equal access to information and health care services (e.g. maternal health, HIV). Other groups focus on people with disabilities as a particularly vulnerable group (e.g. violence)

Visual Acuity testing Bangladesh Cropped

Our aim at ICED is to promote a cross faculty collaboration and research agenda regarding Disability and Public Health, with a particular focus on Low and Middle Income Countries.

The focus of the research is in the following areas:

  1. Access to health services for persons with disabilities
  2. Access to rehabilitation services
  3. Data collection and analysis on disability: measurement and survey methods

We also work extensively on social protection among people with disabilities.

Across all these areas, we have a keen interest in testing new interventions and developing new mobile tools.

Some key examples of our ongoing work:

Study Description Location Staff
Social and Economic Impact of Congenital Zika Syndrome A mixed method study to examine the social and economic impact of Congenital Zika Syndrome at the level of the family and society. Supported by Wellcome. Brazil Hannah Kuper (ITD), Heidi Larsson (EPH), Laura Rodrigues (EPH), Clarissa Simas (EPH) Silke Fernandes (PHP)
Older age and disability in humanitarian crises Assessment of the specific experiences, needs and challenges faced by older people with disabilities in humanitarian crises and their inclusion in humanitarian response activities. Conducted in collaboration with HelpAge International. Ukraine, Pakistan Ukraine, Pakistan Hannah Kuper (ITD),
Sarah Polack (ITD),
Phillip Sheppard (ITD)
Karl Blanchet (PHP)
National Survey of Disability in Guatemala Population based survey to estimate the prevalence of disability with a nested case control study to assess access to health, education, livelihoods and WASH for people with disabilities in Guatemala. Supported by CBM. Guatemala Islay Mactaggart (ITD)
Sarah Polack (ITD)
Access to ear and hearing services for children in Malawi Qualitative study exploring the reasons for low uptake of ear and hearing referral services for children in Malawi. Funded by CBM. Malawi Tess Bright (ITD)
Sarah Polack (ITD)
Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection services Evaluation of the barriers and facilitators to access of child protection services among children with disabilities. With a particular focus on those services supported by PLAN International Malawi, Uganda Karen Devries (PHP)
Hannah Kuper (ITD)
Morgon Banks (ITD)
Access to Education amongst children with disabilities in Malawi Qualitative study on barriers and facilitators to accessing education for children with disabilities Malawi Morgon Banks (ITD)
Maria Zuurmond (ITD)
Inclusive Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific Review of social protection programmes in Asia and the Pacific with evaluation of best practice tbd Karl Blanchet (PHP)
Matthew Walsham (ITD)
Impact of Physical Rehabilitation Investigation of the impact of physical rehabilitation in the lives of people. Supported by ICRC. Myanmar Karl Blanchet (PHP)
Islay Mactaggart (ITD)
Inclusion of people with disabilities in Water and Sanitation Identification of means to promote access of people with disabilities to Water and Sanitation Malawi, Bangladesh Sian White (ITD)
Islay Mactaggart (ITD)
English Longitudinal Study of Ageing Health related behaviours and inequalities in disability-free years among the older population in England UK Benedetta Pongiglione (EPH), Bianca de Stavola (EPH), George Ploubidis (EPH), Hannah Kuper (ITD)
Cerebral Palsy Training Programme Impact Evaluation Evaluating the “Getting to Know Cerebral Palsy” Parent Training Programme previously developed by our team Ghana Maria Zuurmond (ITD)
Sarah Polack (ITD)
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Development and testing of a participatory approach to the evaluation of CBR. Jamaica Joerg Weber (ITD, PhD student)
Violence and disability in schools Assessment of the vulnerability to violence among primary school children with disabilities. Uganda Karen Devries (PHP)
Hannah Kuper (ITD)
Maria Zuurmond (ITD)
Uptake of health and rehabilitation services in Malawi Identification and evaluation of means to increase access to and uptake of health and rehab services amongst people with disabilities, with an emphasis on children Malawi Morgon Banks (ITD)
Hannah Kuper (ITD)


Some examples of completed research projects:

Study Description
2015-16 Evaluation of the impact of hearing aids A mixed methods study to evaluate the impact of hearing impairment and the provision of hearing aids in the lives of people in Guatemala. Supported by World Wide Hearing.
2014 The Costs of Exclusion and Gains of Inclusion Review Sponsored by CBM, a systematic review on disability and economic poverty, with evidence on the pathways between disability and poverty and the economic costs of exclusion – Full and Summary Reports available.
2013 – 2014 The Impact of CBR: Systematic Review A review of evidence of the impact of Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) on the lives of people with disabilities in LMICs, sponsored by 3iE
2013 – 2014 Improving the Evidence Base in Disability A population-based survey completed in Cameroon and India to assess the prevalence and impact of disability as measured by self reported and clinical tools. Includes country reports, a research overview and a disability measurement recommendations summary
2012 – 2014 Getting to Know Cerebral Palsy Action Research to develop a parent-led training programme on Cerebral Palsy in Bangladesh, including the development of a Community of Practice for its use
2013 – 2014 Child Disability and Malnutrition in Turkana Study Uses the Key Informant Approach (see below) to identify children with disabilities in Turkana and mixed qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the relationship between childhood disability and malnutrition. Full and Policy Maker Summary reports available.
2013 – 2014 Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Systems of Social Protection A mixed method study and policy analysis to assess the inclusion of people with disabilities in social protection programmes sponsored by GIZ. Outputs include country and policy reports (Tanzania and Peru) and an inclusive Social Protection toolkit.
2012 – 2013 Disability Prevalence Survey in Haiti Disability prevalence survey conducted in Haiti in association with Firah and Handicap International following the Haitian Earthquake. Academic paper and full report available.
2006 – 2012 Cataract Impact Study Explored the impact of cataract on poverty, activities and health related quality of life in Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines including a 6 year post surgical follow up in 2012. Reports and multiple publications available.
2012 British Women’s Heart and Health Study Quantitatively assessed the impact of disability on the lives of older women in the UK.
2010 Post Disaster Response for People with Disabilities in Haiti Evaluation of the post earthquake response in Haiti in 2010, including reports in both English and French.
2008 – 2014 Key Informant Method of Childhood Disability A case finding methodology to estimate the prevalence and types of childhood disability. Includes work undertaken in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Malawi to validate the study, and a “Working Guide” to using the methodology.


PhD Student Research:

Student Topic
Islay Mactaggart (staff PhD) Disability Measurement in Surveys and Programmes
Joerg Weber (PhD) Participatory M&E of CBR
Mark Spreckley (DrPH) Impact of Hearing aids in Guatemala
Tracey Symthe (PhD) Improving access and delivery of Club Foot services, SSA
Antony Duttine (DrPH)
Morgon Banks (PhD)
Goli Hashemi (PhD)
Phil Sheppard (DrPH)
Tim O’Fallon (DrPH)


Translating research findings into practice is a key priority, and we work closely with NGOs and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

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