This research project adds a disability component to a large dataset already collected about the health of women, babies and children in rural Nepal. Once completed, it will form the largest known statistically viable set of data about sexual and reproductive health choices for women with disabilities in a developing country.
Improving maternal and child health are key components of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the subjects of widespread international research efforts. Since 2006, another DFID RPC, Towards 4+5, has worked with MIRA to amass significant data on patterns of pregnancy, delivery and access to maternal/newborn health care among poor women in the Makwampur District of southern Nepal.
Nearly 3,000 women with disabilities were identified on our research. Photo credit: MIRA/Joanna Morrison
Now, to add data on women with disabilities, the research team has adapted a disability screening tool which they used with nearly 14,000 women for whom some data was already collected. From these, approximately 3,000 women with disabilities and their newborns were identified and the project undertook a quantitative household survey to identify how well they could access maternal/child health services. A selection of them also took part in a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews to provide a qualitative component to this study.
All information has been collected in conjunction with data on general health, income, education and employment to understand more fully the links between poverty and access to maternal health care. It also provides information on short and longer-term mother and infant survival patterns among women with disabilities in this region. We are now compiling and analysing the findings to help generate low-cost, high-impact bodies of data on people with disabilities that will be useful in both global health and international development initiatives.