Why do we need a portal for evidence on disability?

It is estimated that approximately 1 billion people around the world have some form of disability, a large majority of whom are disproportionally represented by individuals in low- and middle- income settings and countries. Yet, policies, legislation, services and interventions for people with disabilities continue to be neglected in mainstream planning and programming.

Recent times have seen some improvement in this regard: largely due to decades of lobbying by disability rights movements, and a growing awareness of disability as an important public policy focus. In line with this shift, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has instigated an uptick in research documenting best-practice, evidence-based efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities. This research includes disability outcomes, measurement guidelines, the effectiveness and impact of approaches to reach and support people with disabilities on a range of topics covering diverse environments, epidemiology, care and culture.

A majority of this knowledge is however, produced in, and based on, evidence from high-income settings, bound in high-level reports, journal articles and often times in languages that can be inaccessible to policy makers in countries outside of Europe and North America. In order to inform decisions related to mechanisms that effectively improve outcomes for people with disabilities, we must document, in accessible language and outside of academia, what knowledge exists about best practices for people with disabilities in LMICs.