The 15th meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) was held 27-29 October 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The focus of the meeting was the presentation of additional work on guidelines for analysis of data collected using the WG Short Set (SS) questions and Extended Set of questions on Functioning (ES-F) and updates from the workgroups dealing with special methodological topic areas.
Final results from the analysis of data provided by countries using the WG short set in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) showed that although countries continue to report disparate disability prevalence rates; with some exceptions, those that use the WG as intended, using a cut-off of least one domain that is coded as a lot of difficulty or cannot do it at all, have reported disability prevalence rates that are comparable – in the range 7 – 10%. Using 2010 and 2011 NHIS data, algorithms for combining multiple domain questions into single domain indicators of disability and developing standards for determination of cut-points using the WG extended set of questions on functioning (ES-F) were presented. A small workgroup was formed to finalize the analysis.The WG/UNICEF workgroup on disability among children and inclusive education and the workgroup on mental health presented the work accomplished in the previous.Two representatives from the Saudi Disability Registry Group (SDRG) presented on their experience developing a national disability registry. The delegates agreed that the workgroup should continue its efforts and provide a status update at the next meeting.
Results from the continued analysis of data provided by countries using the WG Short Set in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) and analyses using data from the 2010 and 2011 US NHIS addressing how best to combine information from several questions per domain on the WG extended set on functioning and develop standards for determination of cut-points were presented.The WG/UNICEF workgroup on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children presented the results of cognitive testing that was completed in Oman, Belize, India, Montenegro and USA and the revised Module on Child Functioning and Disability.The presentation on whether and how issues related to mental health could be incorporated into the work of the WG resulted in the creation of a workgroup to further address this. Interest was also expressed in having the WG look into the use of data registers in the compilation of disability statistics.
Results from further analysis of data provided by countries using the WG Short Set in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) were presented. Using data from the 2011 NHIS, results from further analysis of the WG extended set of questions on functioning (ES-F) were also presented. Representatives from NCHS provided a presentation focusing on the use of a mixed-method approach to assess validity and cross-subgroup comparability. Results from the 2010 NHIS using the ES-F questions related to pain were presented. The workgroup investigating environmental factors and participation provided an update on their work.The workgroup (in collaboration with UNICEF) on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children presented a review of the conceptual framework for question development and a proposed set of questions. An update on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) was presented on behalf of UNICEF, as well as, a presentation by a representative from ADAPT (formerly the Spastics Society of India) on the cognitive testing of the module on child functioning and disability in India.
The Washington Group began to monitor the use the WG Short Set in national data collections (censuses and surveys). Preliminary analyses of data provided by countries using the WG Short Set were presented. Preliminary findings from analyses of the WG extended set of questions on functioning using data obtained from the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were also presented at the meeting. The children’s workgroup presented a well-received proposal for the development of the extended set for children including a conceptual framework and examples of how the framework could be operationalized. A formal collaboration was arranged between the Washington Group and UNICEF to work on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children. The workgroup investigating environmental factors also presented their work consisting of a conceptual framework and related questions sets.
The 10th meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) was held in conjunction with the Budapest Initiative Task Force on Measuring Health Status (BI). The primary focus of the meeting was to review results obtained from the 2010 round of cognitive and field testing of the extended set of disability questions that took place in Europe (Granada Group) and South-East Asia (UN ESCAP). In collaboration with the BI, a final version of a question set on health state (a subset of the extended set on functioning) was submitted to Eurostat for inclusion on the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS). It was determined that the workgroups were ready to begin developing question sets designed to measure disability for children and environmental factors.
The primary focus of the 9th meeting was the presentation and discussion of results from the cognitive tests and preliminary field tests results in South-East Asia. Preliminary results from the field tests in two of the participating UN ESCAP countries (Maldives and Sri Lanka) were presented. The overall conclusion was that further analysis of the field test data was required before a final decision could be made regarding the extended set of questions. It was concluded that it was beyond the scope of the WG to address the issue of dealing with institutionalized populations at that time. Two workgroups were constituted to look more closely at the measurement of child disability and the development of a set of questions on environmental factors as they relate to the measurement of disability. It was strongly recommended by the delegates, particularly those from African countries, that projects similar to the one funded by UN ESCAP in the Asia and Pacific region, also be established in other regions.
Work on the extended set continued by expanding upon the set of domains already covered in the short set, and adding supplementary questions within domains (cause, age at onset, duration). Development of the extended set/s was to be done in collaboration with the Budapest Initiative, Eurostat, and UN ESCAP. Methodological issues were raised during the 8th meeting concerning the development of questions for children and institutionalized populations and the use of proxy respondents. WG representatives from Canada and France volunteered to look at the work being done in the areas of children and institutionalized populations.
The work group on the short set addressed the use of the short set as a screener and presented an alternative (optional) question on upper body function. The combined work group on data analysis and methodological issues provided further analyses of the pre-test data presented at the 6th meeting. A large part of the 7th meeting was dedicated to a discussion of work being done on the extended set of disability questions for surveys and survey modules. The extended set work group would coordinate its work with the work of the Budapest Initiative, Eurostat, and UN ESCAP.
The sixth meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics was held October 10-13, 2006 in Kampala, Uganda, hosted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The Washington Group has developed a short set of questions on disability that address the issue of assessing equalization of opportunity. The question set is intended to provide internationally comparable data, primarily for use in census formats. Standardized pre-tests of these questions were conducted in 15 countries to determine how well the Washington Group questions perform across different countries and cultures. A large part of the sixth meeting was dedicated to interpretation of the pre-test results and recommendations for the question set.