Washington Group on Disability Statistics
The main objective of the WG is the promotion and coordination of international cooperation in the area of health statistics by focusing on disability measures suitable for censuses and national surveys. The aim is to provide basic necessary information on disability which is comparable throughout the world. For the primary purpose of informing policy on equalization of opportunities, the WG has developed, tested internationally, and adopted a short set of disability measures (WG-SS) suitable for use in censuses, sample-based national surveys, or other statistical formats.
A second priority is to recommend one or more extended sets of survey items to measure disability that can be used as components of population surveys or as supplements to specialty surveys. To that end, the WG has developed, tested and adopted an extended set of questions on functioning for adults (WG-ES); and, in collaboration with UNICEF, a Child Functioning Module (CFM). In addition, in collaboration with UNICEF, a module on inclusive education is currently being tested to identify barriers to school participation for all children; and in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) a module on inclusive employment is being developed that will assess potential barriers to employment. These extended sets of survey items are intended to be related to the short set of disability measures. The World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) has been used as the basic framework for the development of all questions sets. The disability measures recommended by the WG, both short and extended, are accompanied by descriptions of their technical properties, and methodological guidance is given on their implementation and their applicability to population subgroups. The WG disseminates its work products globally through the world-wide web and scientific publications.
Points of contact: Washington Group Secretariat (NCHS, U.S.A.)
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
Chief, Aging and Chronic Disease Statistics Branch
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
Representatives of national statistical offices, international organizations, and non-government organizations including international disability organizations have participated in the last 18 meetings.
Current country representatives include (from national statistical offices): Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Anguilla, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Macao Special Administrative Region of China, Colombia, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Monserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the past, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Comoros, Nigeria, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have also participated.
Current non-government organizations include: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), European Disability Forum, Eurostat, Humanity & Inclusion (HI: formerly Handicap International), Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, Inter-American Institute on Disability, International Labour Organization (ILO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), National Disability Authority-Ireland, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), International Development Project, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Rehabilitation International (RI), United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA), United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), World Bank, and World Health Organization (WHO).
Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities: Coordenadoria Nacional para Integração da Pessoa Portadora de Deficiência (CORDE) in Brazil, Secretaria Nacional para la Integración de las personas con Discapacidad (SENADIS) in Panama, and Disabled Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development (DOLASED) in Tanzania.
Report of the Eighteenth meeting: 7 - 9 November 2018 in Rome, Italy (WG-18):
WG-18 was jointly hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank and the Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT).
The meeting was attended by 97 persons:
- 57 representing national statistical authorities from 49 countries (Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy-5, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya-2, Kosovo-2, Lao-2, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Serbia-2, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom);
- 13 representatives from universities or national institutes of public health or other national research bodies or ministries (Cambodia, China, Finland-2, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia, Myanmar, South Africa, United Kingdom-4);
- 4 representatives from the US National Center for Health Statistics (WG Secretariat);
- 10 representatives from organizations representing persons with disabilities (AIFO (Italy), Center for Inclusive Policy, Danish Institute of Human Rights, European Disability Forum, Humanity & Inclusion, International Disability Alliance, National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities (Japan), Pacific Disability Forum, Sightsavers-2); and
- 13 representatives from international organizations (UK Department for International Development (DFID), Eurostat, IFAD-5, International Labour Organization (ILO), World Food Programme, World Bank-4)
Objectives for WG-18 were to:
- Seek consensus on Analysis Workgroup work-plan: measures of severity and data disaggregation;
- Discuss strategies for data dissemination;
- Provide updates on inclusive education and inclusive employment modules and discuss next steps;
- Review development of measures of psychosocial functioning and agree on next steps; and
- Discuss the way forward: regional implementation workshops and regional capacity building/ collaborations
The formal WG meeting was preceded by two pre-meeting sessions held on 6 November. The first session provided a brief orientation for new members including an overview of the WG's history, objectives, organizational structure, current collaborations, and the development of its data collection tools. The second pre-meeting session was directed to representatives of national statistical offices (NSOs) focusing on issues related to the implementation of the WG questions and analysis of the resulting data. The session provided an overview of important issues to consider when implementing the WG questions including, recommended guidelines for translation, question administration and examples of how the WG questions can used to monitor the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through data disaggregation.
There was a discussion about the current structure of the pre-meeting sessions and whether the participants found them beneficial as a prelude to the main meeting. The delegates all provided positive feedback and indicated the pre-meeting sessions were very informative and beneficial for understanding the content presented during the main meeting. The delegates agreed to continue having the pre-meeting sessions. Slight changes to the structure of the pre-meeting sessions may be considered to minimize duplication in content provided during the main meeting
International Developments in Disability Measurement
Representatives from the World Bank, IFAD and Eurostat provided reports on ongoing projects related to disability measurement. The presentation provided by the World Bank representative highlighted the World Bank's commitment to disability inclusive development and outlined their plans to incorporate the WG Short Set into their Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS). The representative from IFAD provided an overview of their work in Ethiopia and Nigeria using the WG Short Set to examine socio-economic disparities between persons with disabilities and the non-disabled population. The representative from Eurostat outlined Eurostat's plans to modernize the European Social Surveys, which includes integrating a subset of the WG Short Set into the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) and a subset of the WG/UNICEF Child Functioning Module into the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS).
WG Data Collection Tools - Guidance and Resources
The WG continues to strive to make its products and documentation readily available to users on a public platform. To that end, representatives from the WG Secretariat provided an overview of the series of documents developed to support the implementation of the WG data collection tools and the analysis of the data produced. The session also included a review of the newly revised WG website (http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/), followed by an extensive discussion of potential improvements to make the website more user-friendly and the content easier to navigate. The delegates agreed that employing a web consultant to inform the process should be considered and a review committee should be formed to provide feedback on the new revisions that would be made.
The discussions also included the best approaches for developing official translations of the questions sets and the supporting documents and the possibility of developing a standard template for disseminating data collected using the WG tools. The delegates agreed that the best approach would be to form small groups of countries who speak a common language to review the different translations. The groups would be tasked with providing validated versions of the question sets and documents to be made available on the WG website. The delegates also agreed to form a workgroup focusing on providing specific recommendations and examples for data dissemination. The workgroup could be a subgroup of the existing Data Analysis workgroup.
Child Disability & Inclusive Education
The WG and UNICEF have collaborated to develop several resources intended to assist users with the implementation of the WG/UNICEF Child Functioning Module (CFM) and analysis of the data collected. The CFM has been officially translated into eight languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Khmer, Portuguese (standard and Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese), in addition to English. Supporting documentation, including a concept note, tabulation plans, narrative and syntaxes (SPSS and Stata), templates for reporting, guidelines for interviewers (available in English, French and Spanish), and training materials are also available. The official translations of the CFM and all of the supporting documentation are available on UNICEF's website: https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-disability/module-on-child-functioning/
A series of videos focusing on disability measurement have also been developed and currently being edited. The videos will be made available via the WG and UNICEF websites once editing is completed. The CFM and WG Short Set have also been added to the current round of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS6). To date, there are 31 countries are in various stages of MICS6 implementation..
The WG has also collaborated with UNICEF on the development of a module designed to measure facilitators and barriers to school participation. An update on the recent work accomplished was presented. Cognitive testing of the UNICEF/WG Module on Inclusive Education was carried out in the United States (35 interviews), India (40 interviews), Jamaica (40 interviews), Cambodia (69 interviews), and Kazakhstan (60 interviews). Results from the cognitive tests were used to inform revisions to the module. Further testing is planned for 2019. The workgroup is seeking to identify countries with an identifiable population of 'out of school' children for further cognitive testing. The final module and implementation guidelines are expected to be finalized by the end of 2019.
Labor Force Surveys
The WG has continued its collaboration with ILO on the development of a disability module intended for use in labor force surveys. This workgroup, co-chaired by ILO and the Secretariat has developed a draft module for use in labor force surveys that includes WG Short Set plus some elements from the WG Extended Set on Functioning; namely, upper body functioning and affect (anxiety and depression). The disability module for Labor Force Surveys has undergone two rounds of cognitive testing in United States and after minor revisions was tested in India and Mongolia. Preliminary results from the Mongolia tests were presented at the meeting. The workgroup is seeking to identify a few countries for field testing and hopes to approve the module at the next annual meeting.
Mental Health & Psychosocial Functioning
This workgroup, co-chaired by representatives from South Africa and Italy, has examined the performance of the WG questions on depression and anxiety and completed a scoping literature review on activity limitations, participation restrictions and environmental barriers commonly associated with common and severe mental disorders. To date, the group has examined cross-cultural performance of the WG questions on depression and anxiety using data collected in Cameroon, Canada, India and the United States and assessed approaches to creating a summary WG-Mental Health indicator. The workgroup recommends including both anxiety and depression in the affect domain as well as the questions intended to measure both frequency and intensity. However, the workgroups recommendation is to not include the medication questions when developing a composite indicator and using a slightly different cut-points for mental-health specific analysis than the cut-points recommended for overall analyses using the WG Extended Set questions.
Based on the results of the scoping review, the workgroup has proposed a draft module for cognitive testing and are seeking countries to conduct cognitive tests in 2019. The workgroup plans to use the results from the cognitive tests to inform future field tests and further the development of the module.
Chaired by the Secretariat, this workgroup has addressed the development of analytic guidelines and computer syntax (SPSS and SAS for WG-SS and WG-ES; SPSS and Stata for CFM) for the determination of a set of disability identifiers (based on different severity cutoffs and describing the continuum of disability). An update on the work to address the determination of mutually exclusive severity categories such as mild, moderate and severe disability; and measurement of multiple domains (number of domains) involved at different cut-offs was presented. The workgroup plans to continue its efforts in this area as well as investigate other areas of analysis (e.g. age at onset / stage of life cycle) and work to develop additional syntax to be used in CSPro and Stata.
The session opened with a presentation by a representative from the Center for Inclusive Policy focusing on the potential use of the WG questions in administrative data systems and the use of administrative data for measuring disability prevalence and disaggregation of outcome indicators. The presentation, based on a blog posted on the WG website (http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/can-administrative-data-used-collecting-data-disability/), outlined some of the challenges with using administrative data for measuring disability prevalence, but provided an example of how the WG questions can be successfully incorporated into general programs that collect information relevant to disability issues, such as education management information systems (EMIS). The presentation pointed out that the WG questions should not be used for determining program eligibility. However, the questions can be used to monitor how the programs are reaching people with disabilities and as a screener for further attention. The work previously done by Sightsavers and with the Fiji EMIS were highlighted as successful examples. There are plans to expand the blog and presentation into a full article for journal submission or to be posted on the WG website.
The session also included a presentation by the WG representative from Statistics South Africa on the use of the WG-SS and WG-ES in a pilot study to inform the process of standardizing disability measurement across various government departments in South Africa. A representative from ISTAT provided a presentation including results from a statistical linkage project that combined data from a registry of pension beneficiaries with administrative data on disability certificate holders.
International Collaborations, Capacity Building & Outreach
An overview was provided on the Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age Disaggregated Statistics. The Titchfield City Group, currently chaired by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics, have consulted with the chair of the WG Steering Committee on governance issues and guidance on maintaining a successful UN city group. A representative from the WG (ISTAT) attended and presented at the first meeting of the Titchfield City Group. The Titchfield Group's groups overall objective is to develop standardized tools and methods for producing both data disaggregated by age and ageing-related data. The session included a discussion of how the work of the Titchfield Group might align with the efforts of the WG.
An update was provided on the WG's capacity building and outreach efforts. Over the past two years, (with the support from the DFAT), the WG has hosted or participated in several webinars, training and implementation workshops to meet the varied needs of data producers and users.
- February 2018: Review of Major Outcomes from the 17th Washington Group Meeting (WG hosted)
- April 2018: Disabled Persons' Organizations (DPO) webinar: Mobilizing Disability Data (IDA hosted)
- May 2018: Data Production and Analysis Using the WG Tools (WG hosted)
- March 2017: London (DFID hosted)
- May 2017: Washington, DC (in collaboration with USAID)
- June 2018: NYC (in collaboration with UNICEF)
- December 2018: Quito, Ecuador (co-hosted by University College London (UCL), WG and The Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RAIDIS))
WG Workshops on Disability Measurement with a focus on the Implementation of WG tools in National Statistical Systems
- Suva, Fiji (South Pacific)
- Casablanca, Morocco (Western Asia)
- Rome, Italy (non-regional)
- Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago (Caribbean)
- Mexico City, Mexico (Latin America)
- Bangkok, Thailand (SE Asia)
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Africa)
Planned for 2019
- Senegal (West Africa)
- Russia (CIS countries)
- London (non-regional)
One of the major outcomes of the workshop that took place in Western Asia was the development of a Regional Guidebook to Improve Disability Data Collection and Analysis in the Arab countries (https://www.unescwa.org/sites/www.unescwa.org/files/page_attachments/wg-escwa_guidbook_disability_stat_8may18_final.pdf). The WG is hopeful that this document will serve a template the can be followed by other regions. Through the implementation workshops, the WG has begun to lay the groundwork for the establishment of regional entities that would collaborate on implementation activities and share best practices for the collection of disability data at the regional level. The WG plans to further support the establishment of these entities as part of its workplan for 2019.
Innovative Applications of the WG Questions
Presentations were provided by representatives from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine - LSHTM (on behalf of the World Federation of the Deafblind and the International Disability Alliance and LSHTM), HI, Sightsavers and UCL on projects using the WG questions.
1. The LSHTM presentation focused on utilizing data collected using the WG questions from big data sets, such as the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) - International, to identify invisible groups, such as the deaf-blind population.
2. The representative from HI presented results from an analysis focusing on the use of the WG questions in humanitarian action programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, the Philippines, Yemen and Syria.
3. The representatives from Sightsavers provided a presentation on the Inclusive Data Charter and results from a project using the WG questions focused on disability inclusive early childhood development in Malawi.
4. The representative from UCL highlighting the Disability Data Portal (https://www.disabilitydataportal.com) developed by the Leonard Cheshire Research Centre at UCL in collaboration with DFID and the work of the Leonard Cheshire Working Group on Disability Data examining the use of the WG questions by civil society organizations.
The WG continues to monitor the collection of disability data internationally, and annually requests detailed information from member countries covering survey periodicity, sample size and frame, mode of data collection, language(s) used, and exact question wording along with response options. Annual reports were completed by 75 countries. To date, 95 countries have indicated that the WG short set (or some variant) was included in a previous or most recent census, national surveys, disability modules or pre-tests. In addition, 19 countries have indicated that the extended set (or a subset) has as a module on a national survey or as part of a disability survey. The session also included a presentation by a representative from the Institute of Population Research at Peking University highlighting the current status of work related to disability statistics in China.
Copies of the presentations from each of the sessions are available on the WG's website: http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/meetings/past-meetings/eighteenth-meeting/
Key agreements of WG-18 and next steps:
The WG agreed to its work plan for 2019. Among other items, the plan delegates specific responsibilities to working groups that meet throughout the year (via email and telephone conferences). Next steps for the steering committee and work groups include:
- Continue to develop guidance for the analysis and presentation of data collected using WG data collection tools focusing on more general analytic topics, including:
- Develop severity indicators and indicators for people with difficulty in multiple domains
- Investigate other areas of analysis (e.g. age at onset / stage of life cycle)
- Develop syntax to be used in CSPro for census data
- Develop syntax for Stata
- Continue the development of the module on inclusive education
- Identify countries with identifiable population of 'out of school' children for cognitive testing
- Continue the development of the disability module for use in labor force surveys
- Identify countries for field testing of the draft module
- Continue work on the measurement of psychosocial functioning
- Finalize and publish paper on review of WG affect questions and other measures
- Continue scoping review of literature
- Develop minimum set of questions to identify people with psychosocial difficulties at risk of participation restriction for cognitive testing
- Develop a cognitive testing protocol for the questions selected as potential measures of psychosocial functioning
- Further address the feasibility of collecting information on disability through administrative data systems
- Draft a white paper / guidelines document listing issues associated with use administrative data systems for the collection of disability information
- Considering employing the use of a web consultant to inform the process.
- Review committee to be formed
- Translation of WG questions and documents
- Develop small groups of countries who speak a common language
- Groups provide a "validated" version to for website
- Continue regional workshops to facilitate the incorporation of the WG Short Set into Census and surveys for use in monitoring the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 19th meeting, to be hosted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) of Argentina is scheduled to be held September 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In keeping with UN guidelines, issues of gender bias and other potential sources of bias will be a consideration of all WG work.
Proceedings from the meetings (presentations and papers), reports to the UN Statistical Commission, final meeting reports, and information on upcoming meetings can be accessed through the Washington Group website, currently hosted by the National Center for Health Statistics, U.S.A.
Reporting to the UN Statistical Commission
- Report of 2018
- Report of 2016
- Report of 2014
- Report of 2012
- Report of 2010
- Report of 2007
- Report of 2005
Appendix: Past meetings/major outcomes
First meeting: Washington, D.C., 18-20 February 2002
Agreement was reached on the following: 1) it is important and possible to craft a short set/s of internationally comparable disability measures; 2) short and long set(s) of measures that are inter-related are needed; 3) the ICF model will be used as a framework in developing disability measures; and 4) census questions are the first priority.
Second meeting: Ottawa, 9-10 January 2003
A link was established between the purpose/s of a short measure on disability and aspects of measurement. A conceptual matrix was developed linking the purpose of a short disability measure with conceptual definitions and question characteristics. An empirical matrix was developed evaluating the characteristics of short set(s) of disability measures currently in use according to the dimensions of the conceptual matrix. Both matrices helped the WG to identify gaps in disability measurement.
Third meeting: Brussels, 19-20 February 2004
Since disability is multidimensional, it is not possible to ascertain the single "true" disabled population. Different purposes are related to different dimensions of disability or different conceptual components of disability models. Equalization of opportunities was selected as the purpose for which an internationally comparable short disability measure would be developed. A work group was designated to generate a draft set of questions related to this purpose. In addition, two other work groups were formed to propose methods for implementing the short set and to propose an approach for developing extended measurement sets related to the short set. Finally, a plan for WG governance was adopted.
Fourth meeting: Bangkok, 29 September - 1 October 2004
Agreement was reached on the following: Conceptual agreement on a draft set of questions for the general disability measure, but wording revisions were required prior to pre-testing; a new workgroup operating in conjunction with a consultant to develop six implementation protocols for pre-testing the short set of disability measures was formed; agreement to start development of the first extended measurement set was reached; and a new workgroup on methodological issues was formed.
Fifth meeting: Rio de Janeiro, 21-23 September 2005
Revisions were suggested for the short measurement set, the accompanying rationale, and the implementation protocols. A new work group was formed to plan and implement analyses of the WG pre-tests. All results pertaining to the six WG questions will be considered by the new work group including the WG sponsored pre-tests, the WHO/ESCAP test, and other testing activities.
Sixth meeting: Kampala, 10-13 October 2006
Based on the outcomes of the pre-tests, the WG endorsed the six question set for use in censuses. The set comprises questions on four core functional domains (seeing, hearing, walking, and cognition) as well as two additional domains desired by member countries (self-care and communication). The methodological work group and the data analysis work group merged to continue the detailed analysis of the pre-test data. The work group on extended measures was charged with drafting a position paper on the first extended set.
Seventh meeting: Dublin, 19-21 September 2007
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.
Eighth meeting: Manila, 29-31 October 2008
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.
Ninth meeting: Dar es Salaam, 7-9 October 2009
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.
Tenth meeting: Luxembourg, 3-5 November 2010
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.
Eleventh meeting: Southampton, 14-16 November 2011
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 and of the WG extended set of questions on functioning using data obtained from the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were presented. The children's workgroup presented on the development of the extended set for children including a conceptual framework. 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.
Twelfth meeting: Bangkok, 23-25 October 2012
Results from further analysis of data provided by countries using the WG Short Set in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) and from a mixed-method approach to assess validity and cross-subgroup comparability of the WG extended set using data from the 2010-11 NHIS were presented. The workgroup investigating environmental factors and participation provide an update on their work including a review of the conceptual framework and related questions sets. 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
Thirteenth meeting: Amman, 29-31 October 2013
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.
Fourteenth meeting: Buenos Aires, 8-10 October 2014
Final results from the analysis of data provided by countries using the WG short set 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 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.
Fifteenth meeting: Copenhagen, Denmark 27-29 October 2015
Proposed guidelines for analyzing data obtained from the WG Extended Set of disability questions on Functioning were discussed. A small workgroup will finalize the analysis for the outstanding domains and present results at the next meeting.
Status reports were provided by the workgroups focusing on methodological issues concerning surveys: child disability, mental health, disability module for labor force surveys, and environmental factors & participation. The child disability workgroup presented findings from preliminary analyses of data collected in a Samoan Demographic and Health Survey. The workgroup also presented results from the cognitive tests of the module on inclusive education carried out in the United States. A review of the development of a proposed disability module intended for use in labor force surveys was provided. The workgroup investigating the development of measures specific to mental health presented the work accomplished in the previous year. The meeting also included a review of recent international activities in disability statistics including the use of outcome indicators for monitoring the UN CRPD and SDGs.
Sixteenth meeting: Pretoria, South Africa 7-9 December 2016
The guidelines for analyzing data obtained using the WG Extended Set of disability questions on Functioning were finalized and approved by the delegates in attendance. The final version of the WG/UNICEF Child Functioning Module (CFM) was presented and formally adopted. Discussions included additional work in the development of the modules on barriers and facilitators to school participation (for children) and to employment (for adults). There was additional discussion of issues pertaining to measuring mental health. The next steps and future plans for the workgroups addressing these topics were discussed. The meeting also included special sessions devoted to the use of WG tools for disaggregation of the Sustainable Development Goals by disability status, and Disability Measurement in Africa.
Seventeenth meeting: Sydney, Australia 31 October - 2 November 2017
An overview of the recently revised WG website was provided at the meeting. The sessions also included a review of the best practices when implementing the WG data collection tools. Guidelines for analyzing data obtained using the WG Extended Set of disability questions on Functioning were presented and approved. The guidelines including SPSS and SAS syntax are available on the WG website. Discussions included the further development of modules on barriers and facilitators to school participation (children) and to employment (adults) as well as issues pertaining to measuring psychosocial functioning. The meeting also included special sessions devoted to regional capacity building to improve the collection and analysis of disability statistics, disability in Australia and New Zealand and measuring Disability in Asia and the Pacific region.
Last updated 23 July 2019