Challenges for assessing disability prevalence: The case of Afghanistan

Jean François Trani, Parul Bakhshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


This article attempts to examine the methodological intricacies of measuring prevalence rates of disability through a population-based survey using the WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and the capability framework, developed by Amartya Sen and others. After a rapid overview of the Afghan context and the process leading to the research programme, it presents the methodology used in the National Disability Survey in Afghanistan (NDSA) and the survey protocol. The authors argue that prevalence rates can be measured using different instruments in terms of impairments, activity limitations or in terms of well-being. Thus, the disability experience is measured through a multidimensional approach. The article concludes that whatever conceptual framework is adopted, understanding the situation of persons with disabilities requires going beyond the measurement of disability prevalence. It implies looking at the links between disability prevalence and the persons' valuable functionings and social agency in a given environment, using other variables measured by the survey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-64
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 17 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Capability approach
  • Disability
  • International classification of functioning
  • Prevalence

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