Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Disability Inclusion in Primary Health Care in Nepal: An Explorative Study of Perceived Barr...


A- A+
Alt. Display

Original Research Articles

Disability Inclusion in Primary Health Care in Nepal: An Explorative Study of Perceived Barriers to Access Governmental Health Services


Suzanne van Hees ,

Radboud University Medical Centre, NL
About Suzanne

Suzanne Van Hees received her Master's degree in Health Promotion and Education from Maastricht University in 2013. At the moment she is working as an occupational therapist, teacher and researcher at Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

X close

Huib Cornielje,

Enablement, NL
About Huib

Huib Cornielje holds an MSc from University of Witwatersrand South Africa and a Master in Public Health with the Netherlands School of Public Health. Since 1999, he has been the Director of Enablement - through Research and Education - an not-for-profit agency specialized in capacity building in Community Based Rehabilitation.

X close

Prakash Wagle,

Bikash, NP
About Prakash

Mr. Prakash Wagle holds Masters degree in International Community Disability Studies from the University College London (UCL). He has been active in the development of CBR in Nepal for more than 20 years. He is interested in training and capacity building in CBR and CBID.

X close

Evert Veldman

Enablement, NL
About Evert

Evert Veldman holds a Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy. He is engaged in training and innovation in Community Based Rehabilitation with Enablement.

X close


Purpose: Persons with disabilities face additional barriers in accessing primary healthcare services, especially in developing countries. Consequently the prevalence of secondary health conditions is higher among this population. This study aims to explore the perceived barriers to access primary healthcare services by persons with disabilities in the Western region of Nepal.

Methods: 10 primary healthcare providers and 11 persons with disabilities (physically or visually impaired) were selected by non-governmental organisations from the hilly and lower areas. Based on the International Classification of Functioning and the health accessibility model of Institute of Medicine, semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using analytical induction.

Results: In general, healthcare providers and persons with disabilities reported similar barriers. Transportation and the attitude of family members and the community were the main environmental barriers. Even with assistive devices, people still depend on their families. Financial barriers were mainly reported, such as lack of funds for health expenses, problems in generating an income by persons with disabilities themselves, and the low socio-economic status of their families. Personal barriers, which affect help-seeking behaviour in a major way, were most often mentioned in relation to financial and socio-environmental barriers.  Low self-esteem of the person with disability determines the family’s attitude and the motivation to seek out healthcare. Lastly, poor public awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities was reported.

Conclusions: Besides the known physical environmental barriers, this study found several environmental, financial and personal barriers that also affect access to primary healthcare. In particular, the attitudes of families and poor financial conditions seem to be interrelated and greatly influence help-seeking behaviour.

Implications: There is a definite need to educate primary healthcare providers who work at the community level about disability-related health conditions, and train them to diminish barriers to access health services. In addition, the government support system for persons with disabilities should be revised and implemented accordingly. Lastly, further research is needed to understand the interaction between the reported barriers that influence the inclusion of persons with disabilities in healthcare. 

How to Cite: van Hees, S., Cornielje, H., Wagle, P. and Veldman, E., 2015. Disability Inclusion in Primary Health Care in Nepal: An Explorative Study of Perceived Barriers to Access Governmental Health Services. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 25(4), pp.99–118. DOI:
Published on 03 Mar 2015.


  • PDF (EN)