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Original Research Articles

Feasibility Assessment of the ICF Minimal Generic Set as a Disability Screening Tool in Rural Nepal


Paul Witte ,

Tribhuvan University, Central Department of Population Studies, NP
About Paul
Paul Witte is an Independent Researcher and Global Physiotherapist interested in identifying and deploying efficient and scalable ways to elevate the most vulnerable population.
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Suresh Tamang,

Nick Simons Institute, NP
About Suresh

Suresh Tamang is a Senior Research Coordinator with Nick Simons Institute, Nepal. His passion and research/scholarship goals are to serve the under-served, minority, people with disabilities, geographically challenged (rural), and resource-limited communities; and promoting social justice and health equity.

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Christine C Groves,

Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre, NP
About Christine C
Christine Groves is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Consultant at Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre, Nepal. She is also affiliated with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana, USA. Her professional areas of interest are global health, spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation.
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Darlene R House,

Indiana University School of Medicine, US
About Darlene R
Darlene R House is Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics with a focus on global health and emergency care. She is also an Emergency Medicine Consultant for Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Nepal. She has a Master's degree in Clinical Research and a Global Health Fellowship from Indiana University.
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Laxman Khadka,

Ministry of Health and Population, NP
About Laxman
Laxman Khadka serves as the Acting Medical Superintendent in the government health system in Nepal.
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Thorang Bhotia,

Ministry of Health and Population, NP
About Thorang
Thorang Bhotia worked as a Medical Officer in a Goverment hospital and Primary Health Center in the eastern region of Nepal for two years after completing his M.B.B.S. He regularly participates in community outreach camps to certify people with disabilities according to Nepal's new disability rights law.
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Jeff Hartman

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, US
About Jeff

Jeff Hartman is an Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA. His research focuses on global health professional education and capacity building as part of community and professional development in diverse areas around the world.

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Purpose: Nepal’s 2017 Disability Rights law provided a new national definition of disability consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Updated measurement methods are now indicated to assess disability, suitable for use in populations where self-report tools may be sub-optimal. This study describes the development and field testing of a screening methodology using a clinical assessment conducted by trained non-professionals to score the ICF Minimal Generic Set (MGS).

Method: A prospective, 2-stage assessment of disability was conducted over an eight-month period among a convenience sample of individuals aged ≥ 18, admitted to a rural District Hospital in Northeastern Nepal. After 30 hours of training, non-professional assessors completed Stage 1 screening during hospital admission, with positive screening thresholds set on the basis of MGS scores. A physiotherapist completed Stage 2 assessments in the homes of participants with long-term disability, after their hospital discharge.

Results: Data from 161 participants was analysed, with 159 (98.8%) screening positive for either temporary or long-term disability. Stage 1 screening was completed independently by assessors in 8-12 minutes. Of the 35 participants (21.7%) with positive screening for long-term disability, 13 (37.1%) underwent Stage 2 detailed evaluation. Disability was confirmed in all Stage 2 assessments, indicating feasibility of the screening process.

 Conclusion: Disability screening conducted by trained non-professional assessors using clinical assessment to score the MGS appears to be a promising methodology, and warrants further investigation. If it is found to be valid, it could provide a powerful tool to increase the visibility of disability among some of the most vulnerable populations.

How to Cite: Witte, P., Tamang, S., Groves, C.C., House, D.R., Khadka, L., Bhotia, T. and Hartman, J., 2021. Feasibility Assessment of the ICF Minimal Generic Set as a Disability Screening Tool in Rural Nepal. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 32(3), pp.53–75. DOI:
Published on 26 Oct 2021.


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