The Rapid Assessment of Disability – Informing the Development of an Instrument to Measure the Effectiveness of Disability Inclusive Development Through a Qualitative Study in Bangladesh

Nafisa Lira Huq, Tanya Jane Edmonds, Sally M Baker, Lucy Busjia, Alexandra Devine, Kathy Fotis, Manjula Marella, Nicolas Goujon, Jill E Keeffe


Purpose: The Rapid Assessment of Disability (RAD) questionnaire was developed to provide governments and development agencies with an appropriate instrument to determine the prevalence of people with disability within their target populations, and to design and evaluate the effectiveness of disability inclusive activities in addressing their priorities and needs.

The RAD questionnaire was developed using two conceptual frameworks: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Existing instruments were reviewed to inform the structure and content of the RAD questionnaire.  The RAD questionnaire that was developed for field testing in Bangladesh comprised both a household questionnaire and a questionnaire for individuals within each household, with 5 sections: 1) Demographic information, 2) Assessment of functioning, 3) Awareness of rights of people with disability, 4) Well-being and quality of life, 5) Participation in the community. 

Methods: Prior to field-testing the RAD questionnaire in Bangladesh, a qualitative study was conducted to ensure the relevance of the questionnaire in the context of a developing country.   In-depth interviews with 9 people with disability and a focus group of 8 parents of children with disability were conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Results: Qualitative findings highlighted factors relevant to the lives of people with disability in Bangladesh, including discrepancies between the awareness and attainment of rights for people with disability, the wellbeing of people with disability and their families, as well as numerous barriers to full participation in their community.   While the findings confirmed that the design and content of the questionnaire reflected all these aspects, some changes were made to the items in the questionnaire to ensure that it reflected the views of people with disability from the context of a developing country.

Conclusions and Implications: This qualitative study was an important step in the development of the RAD questionnaire as it helped to achieve its aim - namely, to establish the prevalence of disability and to assist in the design and evaluation of disability inclusive interventions in the setting of a developing country.


Instrument development; quality of life; people with disability

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