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

Authors:

Nazmun Nahar ,

Department of Occupational Therapy, Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), CRP, Savar, Dhaka, BD
About Nazmun

Nazmun Nahar is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Occupational Therapy, Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is involved in teaching occupational therapy, and disability and rehabilitation research at Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

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Mst Reshma Parvin Nuri,

Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, Savar, Dhaka, BD
About Mst Reshma Parvin

Mst. Reshma Parvin Nuri is a Research Associate at CRP. Her research interests include disability, allied health practice and public health issues. She has conducted research in the areas of disability, stroke, spinal cord injury and reproductive health of women.

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Ilias Mahmud

James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, BD
About Ilias

Ilias Mahmud is a Lecturer at James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka Bangladesh and a Research Fellow at International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK. He is the Delegate of the Bangladesh Occupational Therapy Association (BOTA) to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).  The author was also the former president of BOTA. His interest areas are - health inequalities, health systems, disability and chronic disease research.

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Abstract

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.

How to Cite: Nahar, N., Nuri, M.R.P. and Mahmud, I., 2012. Financial Aid for the Rehabilitation of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries in Bangladesh. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(2), pp.94–106. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v23i2.97
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Published on 16 Aug 2012.
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