Fifth meeting: Rio de Janeiro, 21-23 September 2005

21/10/2005 - 23/10/2005


The fifth meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) was held September 21-23, 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted by Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE), in collaboration with CORDE.


The meeting was organized into 10 sessions. Objectives for the 5th meeting were to:

  • Present work on continued development of the general disability measure.
  • Present work on the written protocols and plans for implementing the general disability measure, including lessons learned from regional workshops.
  • Present work on the development of extended measurement sets and the associated papers.
  • Discuss methodological issues related to proxy and nonresponse and to continue discussion of full population coverage.
  • Discuss strategic issues.


Agenda – Fifth Washington Group Meeting [pdf]

Papers and Presentations

Session 1: Opening session

Objectives: To welcome meeting participants; provide practical information; provide an update on the work of the WG and developments since the last meeting in Bangkok, Thailand; and to review the objectives and agenda for this meeting.

Opening Session [ppt]

Session 2: General measure of disability: proposed revisions and recommendations

Objectives: To present the questions recommended for pre-testing, the accompanying rationale, and the question by question specifications. Potential areas for revision will be identified. The potential for use of the general measure as a screener will be discussed

Session 3: Implementing the Pre-test of the General Disability Measure

Objectives: To present the implementation protocols currently in use and discuss recommendations for revisions to the implementation materials.

Session 4: Report on regional workshops

Objectives: To present the proceedings and outcomes of the regional workshops in Africa and Brazil; the results of WG pre-tests; the results of UNESCAP pre-tests; and to discuss the plan for future pre-tests and workshops

Session 5: Conceptual Issues Related to Disability Measurement

Objectives: To examine what it means to use the ICF as a framework for disability measurement and the WG work; to discuss and clarify the meaning of words that we use to describe and measure disability; to identify areas where terminology lacks sufficient clarity and/or specificity and therefore falls short of descriptive needs; and finally, to explain and clarify how the proposed general measure captures basic activities and identifies a population at high risk of participation limitations

Session 6: Proposed Approach for Development of Extended Measurement Set/s

Objectives: To present alternative proposals for the 1st extended measurement set including purpose, rationale, international comparability, and justification for the proposed set of questions; to present a proposal for the second extended measurement set (including the purpose, rationale, etc.); to further discuss the issues of the purpose of the extended sets and prioritizing purposes, data needs (how many extended sets do we need covering which domains), relationship to the general questions (should the extended sets be used with the general questions or as separate survey questions), to discuss the timing of WG activities related to development of the extended measurement sets; and to develop priorities for work to be accomplished.

Session 7: Discussion of Methodological Issues Related to Full Population Coverage

Objectives: To discuss the issues of non-response, mode of survey administration, and proxy response in relation to health questions; to identify the impact of excluding the institutionalized population from disability surveys; and to discuss methods to estimate and control bias in disability statistics.

Session 8: UNSD report

Objectives:(1) To introduce the international collection of national data and metadata on disability as part of the Demographic Yearbook system; (2) To present the results of the Demographic Yearbook pre-testing thus far, including how the different approaches to census and survey measurement impact on the level of disability prevalence.

Session 9: Strategic Issues

Objectives: To review country reports for planning purposes; to discuss the work of the UNECE/WHO/Eurostat group on health status measurement in relationship to WG work; to discuss revisions to the UN and UNECE documents, “Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses”; to be updated on WB activities related to disability statistics and to review and plan for use of World Bank Development Grant Facility funds; and discuss WG governance issues.

Session 10: Next Steps and Objectives for the 6th Meeting in Africa

Objectives: To summarize the accomplishments of the 5th meeting and outline next steps; announce the date and location of the 6th meeting and determine objectives; solicit volunteers to host the 7th WG meeting; and to close the 5th meeting.

Executive Summary

Workgroup Contacts

Five workgroups will address major next steps of the WG. Chairs have been identified for each workgroup. The chairs serve as the contact for each group. Information on the workgroup topics and chairs is provided below. WG members who wish to volunteer to participate in one of these groups, please contact the workgroup chairs.

  • Workgroup on General Measure/s
    Chair: Barbara Altman, USA
    Next steps for this group include addressing recommendations for revisions to the general measure as well as the rationale, including clarifying the issue of seriousness/severity of disability. This workgroup will evaluate the effect of question order on prevalence when the short set is placed on a larger survey. As part of future work, this workgroup will consider developing the general measure as a screener.
  • Workgroup on Implementation
    Chair: Joseph Muli-Kalavi, Kenya, International Development Project
    Alternate: Hasheem Mannan, USA
    This workgroup will serve as a resource for countries conducting the WG pre-test including any revisions needed to the implementation protocol.
  • Workgroup on Extended Measure/s
    Chair: Marijke de Kleijn, The Netherlands
    Next steps for this workgroup is the development of a plan (blueprint) for extended sets, addressing the purpose, rationale, justification for the set and addressing international comparability. The workgroup will also formulate possible options for additional domains to be measured to address the purpose of equalization of opportunities and recommend additional domains for inclusion on one extended measurement set. Furthermore, this workgroup will also begin development of an extended set on environmental questions.
  • Workgroup on Methodological Issues
    Chair: Howard Meltzer, United Kingdom
    This workgroup will address methodological issues of importance to the Washington Group.
  • Workgroup on Analysis
    Chair: Dan Mont, World Bank
    During the annual meeting in Rio, this new workgroup was formed in order to plan and conduct analyses that will inform the WG work on the general measure.