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Disabil Rehabil. 2015;37(12):1082-9. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2014.956186. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Disability in post-earthquake Haiti: prevalence and inequality in access to services.

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International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine , London , UK .



To assess the prevalence of disability and service needs in post-earthquake Haiti, and to compare the inclusion and living conditions of people with disabilities to those without disabilities.


A population-based prevalence survey of disability was undertaken in 2012 in Port-au-Prince region, which was at the centre of the earthquake in 2010. Sixty clusters of 50 people aged 5 + years were selected with probability proportionate to size sampling and screened for disability (Washington Group short set questionnaire). A case-control study was undertaken, nested within the survey, matching cases to controls by age, gender and cluster. There was additional case finding to identify further children with disabilities. Information was collected on: socioeconomic status, education, livelihood, health, activities, participation and barriers.


The prevalence of disability was 4.1% (3.4-4.7%) across 3132 eligible individuals. The earthquake was the second leading cause of disability. Disability was more common with increasing age, but unrelated to poverty. Large gaps existed in access of services for people with disabilities. Adults with disabilities were less likely to be literate or work and more likely to visit health services than adults without disabilities. Children with disabilities were less likely to be currently enrolled at school compared to controls. Children and adults with disabilities reported more activity limitations and participation restriction.


Further focus is needed to improve inclusion of people with disabilities in post-earthquake Haiti to ensure that their rights are fulfilled.


Almost one in six households in this region of Haiti included a person with a disability, and the earthquake was the second leading cause of disability. Fewer than half of people who reported needing medical rehabilitation had received this service. The leading reported barriers to the uptake of health services included financial constraints (50%) and difficulties with transport (40%). People with disabilities did not participate equally in education or employment and had poorer access to health care.


Earthquake; Haiti; impact; prevalence; rehabilitation

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