Access to Services from Persons with Disabilities in Afghanistan: Is Community Based Rehabilitation Making a Difference?

Jean Francois Trani, Kyle A. Pitzer, Juanita Vasquez Escallon, Parul Bakhshi

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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), ratified in 2006, states that the achievement of equal rights, empowerment, and social inclusion of people with disabilities requires comprehensive rehabilitation services involving educational, so-cial, economic, and medical interventions, all dimensions of the World Health Organization Community based rehabilitation (CBR) matrix. CBR programs aim at achieving those goals. In the present study, we investigated whether a large scale CBR program is improving access to multiple services (namely physical therapy, assistive technology, education, employment, advocacy, and community awareness) and providing satisfactions (by measuring the reduction in unmet needs) of Afghans with disabilities. We enrolled in the study 1861 newly recruited CBR participants with disabilities from 169 villages between July 2012 and December 2013, and 1132 controls screened with disabilities randomly selected with a two-stage process within 6000 households from 100 villages in the same provinces as the CBR but outside its catchment area. Using propensity score matching (PSM) and difference in difference analysis, we estimated the differences in accessing ser-vices. There were statistically significant differences between participants and controls on the access of available services between the baseline and endline. Using PSM we also found that needs were more often met among CBR participants compared to the controls. Our study indicates that a CBR program may be an effective way to provide services for persons with disabilities even in a conflict context such as Afghanistan. It contributes to addressing the longstanding question whether CBR can actually improve the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6341
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Afghanistan
  • community based rehabilitation
  • difference in difference
  • disability
  • propensity score matching


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