Accuracy in PWDs’ data required during 2017 census

It is feared that in the latest national census of 2017 untrained staff for data collection regarding disability prevalence would be deployed who have no prior experience or training of collecting data of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).  As a result of incomplete or missing data of PWDs, exact number of PWDs could not be ascertained due to which the policy formulation regarding the welfare of PWDs would not be made on factual grounds. It is observed that in Pakistan there is little work done on the needs of PWD, even this has focused on limited service delivery. Women and men with disabilities were never given chance even to get engage in the democratic process. Despite the census of 2017 the current data about PWDs is not available. However, in 1998 the Pakistan Census Organization (PCO) conducted national census and provided data about disability under its seven categories. According to the Census data, the PWDs constituted 2.49 per cent (3.3 million) of the overall population. According to the “WHO Policy on the Employment of Persons with released on 28 May 2010, disabled persons constitutes 10 per cent of the world population. That data revealed that 55.7 per cent of disabled people were found in Punjab, followed by 28.4 per cent in Sindh, 11.1 per cent in NWFP, 4.5 per cent in Baluchistan, and 0.3 per cent in Islamabad. Out of the total 3.3 million PWDs, 99.7% lived in household and only 0.23% (7731 individuals) lived in institutions. The remaining 0.7% (2403) were homeless. Overall, a PWD was found in 1 in 8 (13%) households. Most disabled people have a physical handicap; this is followed by hearing impairment. The number of males with disability (58%) is greater than females (42%) in both rural and urban areas. This is probably because of the high incidence of child mortality among female children caused by social discrimination, preference for the male child, and deep-rooted gender insensitivity within households. More resources are used for rearing infant boys than infant girls. Thus, if a girl child is disabled she is doubly disadvantaged as she will receive less nutritious food, health care and attention within the family and will often die young. CENSUS does not only provide us important data, it also helps our policymakers make appropriate allocations of the resource to the less advantaged area. Still the disability sector is the most neglected sector in our country. Persons with disabilities have the same feelings and needs as have normal people. Thus our sustainable development goals, set up by the UN, must eradicate poverty and include marginalized groups to achieve global sustainable development goals. For achieving this goal, exact number of PWDs of a country s hould be known so that a comprehensive policy for their welfare could be formulated.

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