Financial Aid for the Rehabilitation of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries in Bangladesh

Nazmun Nahar, Mst Reshma Parvin Nuri, Ilias Mahmud


In Bangladesh, a majority of individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) are either poor or very poor. In most cases, their families undergo extreme hardship as they lose the income of the only or main earning member, and are unable to bear costs of rehabilitation.

Purpose: This mixed method study explored perspectives of individuals with SCI regarding financial aid in the form of interest-free loans for their treatment and rehabilitation at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

Method: In the first part of the study, 10 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted. In the second part of the study, 40 persons with SCI were surveyed. The qualitative method involved selection of respondents according to their age, sex and severity of disability. Quantitative interviews were conducted with all persons with SCI in the final stage of hospital rehabilitation, in the third quarter of 2008.

Results: Though CRP provides financial support depending on the individual’s economic status, many persons with SCI needed additional funding from multiple sources, such as savings (42.5%), mortgaging assets (12.5%), selling assets (45%), receiving loans (37.5%), begging for money (42.5%), and receiving donations from relatives (47.5%) or the community (30%), to meet the direct and indirect costs of rehabilitation. Majority (85%) of those interviewed wanted to receive financial aid in the form of interest-free loans. 76.4% of them wanted the loans to be disbursed in two phases; initially, to offset some of their costs during rehabilitation at CRP, and thereafter, for economic reintegration in their community. The remaining 23.6% wanted the loan only for vocational reintegration. 70.59% of those interviewed proposed repayment in monthly instalments, while 17.64% suggested quarterly instalments and 11.76% favoured annual instalments. Over half of the participants (55.88%) wanted to have vocational training, and the rest wanted vocational training for their family members, to enable them to repay the loan.

Conclusions: This study revealed that there is a huge demand for interest-free loans among people with SCI. An appropriately designed interest-free loan programme, which would be sensitive to individual needs, could save people with SCI and their families from bankruptcy. This would also make SCI rehabilitation programmes more sustainable, and possibly reduce over-dependence on the donors. Further action research is recommended to evaluate the effectiveness of such a course of action.

doi 10.5463/DCID.v23i2.97


Vocational training; Spinal cord injury; Interest-free loan; Financial aid

Full Text:



Adler C (1996). Spinal cord injury. In: Pedretti, L. W. (ed.) Occupational therapy: practice skills for physical dysfunction. St. Louis: Mosby.

CRP (2006). Annual report 2005-2006. Dhaka: Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed

CRP (2011). About CRP [Online]. Dhaka: Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP). Available: [accessed on 15 February 2011].

CRP (2008). Report of Social Welfare Dept. Dhaka: Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed .

De Klerk T (2008). Funding for self-employment of people with disabilities. Grants, loans, revolving funds or linkage with micro-finance programmes. Leprosy Review, 79, 92-109. PMid:18540240

DFID (2000). Disability, poverty and development. London: Department for International Development (DFID).

Handicap International Bangladesh & National Forum of Organisations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD) (2005). Disability in Bangladesh - a study on prevalence. Dhaka: Handicap International Bangladesh and NFOWD.

Hansen CH, Mahmud I, Bhuiyan AJ (2007). Vocational reintegration of people with spinal cord lesion in Bangladesh: an observational study based on a vocational training project at CRP. Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal, 18, 63-75.

Hicks CM (1999). Research methods for clinical therapists: applied project design and analysis, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Hoque MF, Grangeon C, Reed K (1999). Spinal cord lesions in Bangladesh: an epidemiological study 1994 - 1995. Spinal Cord, 37, 858-61. PMid:10602529

Impact Foundation Bangladesh (2002). Disability in Bangladesh [Online]. Dhaka: Impact Foundation Bangladesh. Available: [accessed on 1 March 2008].

Khan AHMN, Chowdhuri MA, Alam KJ, Ahsan MT, Rahman N, Khan RS, Bari N, Hasan R (2002). Employment situation of people with disabilities in Bangladesh. Dhaka: Centre For Services and Information on Disability (CSID).

Momin AKM (1995). Options for the development of therapy services for disabled people in Bangladesh. MA Dissertation, Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds (Unpublished).

Momin AKM, Wara MM, Paul M (2001). The economic integration of disabled people in Bangladesh: impact of CRP service. International Conference on Spinal Cord Lesion Management. Dhaka, Bangladesh: CRP.

Somers MF (1992). Spinal cord injury: functional rehabilitation, Appleton & Lange.

Steve S (2001). An introduction to content analysis [Online]. Available: [Accessed 15 August 2008].

The Daily Star (2008). Enact law to ensure rights of people with disabilities [Online].

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2007). Human development report 2007/2008. New York: UNDP.


Copyright (c) 2015 Nazmun Nahar, Mst Reshma Parvin Nuri, Ilias Mahmud

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Supported by:


© Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development