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Original Research Articles

The Functions of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in Low and Middle-income Countries: A Literature Review

Authors:

Rebekah Young ,

The Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, AU
About Rebekah

Rebekah Young is a final year MD student at the University of Melbourne with an interest in Global Health.

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Matthew Reeve,

The Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, AU
About Matthew

Dr Matthew Reeve is a Senior Project Officer at the Nossal Institute for Global Health

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Nathan Grills

The Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, AU
About Nathan

Dr Nathan Grills is a Public Health Physician with the Nossal Institute for Global health. He works largely on disability in the Indian context and facilitates the CHGN Uttarakhand Cluster of 50 community health programs whose main focus is disability inclusion. Academically he researches disability measurement with the Public Health Foundation of India and the CHGN Uttarakhand Cluster. In the past Nathan has extensively researched faith based health programs in India whilst completing his MPH and DPhil at Oxford University. He has worked with FBOs in Africa, Fiji, East Timor, PNG, Bangladesh and Nepal.

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to review peer-reviewed literature on the roles and functions of Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) in low and middle-income countries, and their outputs and outcomes for people with disabilities.

Method: Online databases were searched without date or language limiters (Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, Embase and Cochrane), using a combination of two key word search strategies. Eleven studies were selected for inclusion in this review on the basis of predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Included studies underwent quality assessment using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) and Downs and Black’s criteria for quality assessment. Data for thematic analysis was then grouped under the broad themes of: participation and factors that facilitate participation; development of partnerships and connections; and self-development and self-help.

Results: There was some evidence within the included studies to suggest that DPOs can produce significant, positive outcomes for persons with disability in terms of factors such as employment rates, access to microfinance and bank loans, accessibility of housing, acquisition of orthopaedic devices, involvement in civil society, development of friendships and networks, and participation in training programmes. Although the studies under review largely did not investigate the long-term impact of the reported DPO functions and outputs, some of the short-term outputs may be considered proximal indicators of outcomes such as increased empowerment and wellbeing.

Conclusion: The 11 studies in this review suggested that DPOs can be effective in achieving their stated aims of promoting wellbeing, participation and rights of people with disabilities in low and middle- income countries.

Keywords: disability, rights
How to Cite: Young, R., Reeve, M. and Grills, N., 2016. The Functions of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in Low and Middle-income Countries: A Literature Review. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 27(3), pp.45–71. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v27i3.539
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Published on 14 Nov 2016.

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