Title: Gender and Age related impact of Disability on Household Economic Vulnerability: analysis from the REVEAL study in Myanmar. Dr. Michael P Griffiths Consultant, Myanmar Disability Working Group and The Leprosy Mission (Myanmar).
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Title: Gender and Age related impact of Disability on Household Economic Vulnerability: analysis from the REVEAL study in Myanmar
Dr. Michael P Griffiths
Consultant, Myanmar Disability Working Group and The Leprosy Mission (Myanmar)
The difference in vulnerability between households with and households without a person with disability is more significant with age and gender. Compared to households with a female household head, households with a female person with disability were significantly more likely to be in the ‘Vulnerable’ category and extremely vulnerable category and to have high levels of economic vulnerability. They were also twice more likely than households to be in the most vulnerable category for dependency (p<0.0001). Where the female person with disability was of working age, the impact on household vulnerability was even greater.
The difference between households with and without a member who is disabled is greatest when the person with disability is an older person. Compared with households with one or more non-disabled members who are over the age of 70, households with a disabled member over the age of 70 were more likely than households with a non-disabled person with disability to be below average, to be in the ‘Vulnerable’ category, to be in the ‘Extremely Vulnerable’ category and to have economic vulnerability.
Debt-related vulnerability and food security related vulnerability are greatest when the person with disability is over 65; other factors such as livelihood diversity, productive income and decision making related household vulnerability appear to be greatest when the person with disability is either very old or very young; household asset ownership appears lowest when the person with disability is of working age.
Conclusions and recommendations: Using modified EVS scale, the extent and nature of the additional vulnerability conferred by the presence of a household member can be quantified and analyzed. This approach does not assume that ALL households with a person with disability are inherently more vulnerable, but enables field workers to identify those that are more vulnerable, and understand some of the reasons why. Furthermore, by enabling a more nuanced understanding of vulnerability, this approach also enables field workers to target interventions to specific underlying causes of disability, and to more accurately predict the likely impact of interventions aimed at reducing vulnerability. This approach enables field workers and researchers to analyze the interaction between disability and household vulnerability, with a view to identifying strategies to address disability-related vulnerability at household level.
Introduction and Method: Although the links between disability and poverty have been well documented at individual level, less data is available for analyzing the impact of disability on the economic vulnerability of the whole household. Available studies point to higher levels of poverty amongst households with disability, but results are not consistent across different countries. Concerning disability and poverty in developing countries, The World Disability Report states that ‘The evidence is less conclusive for poverty status measured by asset ownership, living conditions, and income and consumption expenditures.’ In the conclusion of that section, the report recommends further research on ‘the causal relationship between poverty and disability’. Poverty is linked to vulnerability to natural disaster, economic shock and other hazards in a cyclical fashion: poorer households are typically more vulnerable to both exposure to and negative impact from shocks, and the increased exposure and impact contributes to chronic poverty. Hence, any understanding of poverty must also include an understanding of vulnerability.
This study uses an expanded version of the ‘Economic Vulnerability Score’, a tool which draws on Moser’s ‘Asset vulnerability framework’ to measure household economic vulnerability according to ten factors (indebtedness, productive income, livelihood diversity, dependency ratio, asset profile, water & sanitation, food security, health, social capital and decision making power). Factors were measured using standardized indicators and then converted to a scale from 0-1 to allow input into the vulnerability model. This model looks primarily at resilience, as the capacity to cope with shocks and hazards, rather than relative exposure. Disability was determined by applying the modified ICF criteria used in the 2008-2009 Myanmar National Disability Survey. Older persons were those aged 70 or over.
Classification of household vulnerability status was determined as follows:
Below average: a household was classified as ‘below average’ if the overall score was below the population mean
Vulnerable: a households was classified as ‘vulnerable’ if they had three or more factors which scored over 1 standard deviation lower than the population mean for that factor
Extremely vulnerable: a household was classified as extremely vulnerable if their overall score was more than two standard deviations below the population mean.
Economic vulnerability: a household was considered to have economic vulnerability if it had two or more of the economic factor scores (debt, livelihood diversity, assets, productive income) more than one standard deviation lower than the population mean for that factor.
Results and Discussion: data on 1194 households in central Myanmar demonstrates that 86 (7%) of households had one or more household members with disability; in 46 (3.8%) households, the person with disability was female, and in 13% of all households with an older person aged 70 or over that older person was disabled.
Households with one or more members who are disabled are significantly more likely than households without a person with disability to be below average, to be in the vulnerable category, the extremely vulnerable category and to have economic vulnerability. IN addition to significantly higher levels of economic insecurity, households with a person with disability also demonstrated higher levels of food insecurity, with 15.3% of households with a person with disabilities having scores more than one standard deviation below the population mean, compared to only 8.5% of households without a person with disability.