Dr Islay Mactaggart


Assistant Professor
in Disability and Global Health, International Centre for Evidence in Disability/ International Centre for Eye Health

490, South Courtyard

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 20 7958 8334

I am an Assistant Professor in Disability and Global Health working across the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED) and the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at LSHTM.


Department of Clinical Research
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


Alongside Prof. Hannah Kuper and Dorothy Boggs, I developed ICED's first MOOC (Massive Online Open Content) course on Global Health and Disability, which launched on the FutureLearn Platform in February 2018.

I am co-module organizer of the MSc module Epidemiology for Eye Disease.

 I also teach on the following MSc modules:

 - Global Disability and Health

- Research Skills for Field Research

- Non Communable Eye Diseases

I am currently co-supervisor of Tila Mainga, a Zambart/LSHTM PhD student focused on TB and mental health, and Stephene Maende, a University of Nairobi/LSHTM PhD student focused on the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities in Kenya.


The overall objective of my research is to support equality of opportunity for people with disabilities and impairments through collection of robust population data on prevalence and aetiology, and inequalities in access to services experienced by these groups. I have a particular interest in strengthening the quality and useability of data, capitalising on digital tools and supporting the capacity of stakeholders to interpret data and statistics to create meaningful change.

I currently lead the development of the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey methodology, repository and community at ICEH, which is a multi-year project with Peek Vision to rebuild RAAB as an end-to-end digital and cloud-based survey solution.

Alongside various research design, training and data analysis consulting roles, I have coordinated a number of international disability and eye health research projects at ICED/ICEH including:

-         2017 - present Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness Version 7 Project [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

-         2019 Gambia National Eye Health Survey [Paper 1]

-         2019 Water, Women and WASH Survey in Vanuatu [Paper 1]

-         2016 National Survey of Disability in Guatemala [Reports

-         2015-2016 Measuring the Impact of Physical Rehabilitation Project in Myanmar [Report

-          2013-2014 Building the Evidence Base in Disability Project: Cameroon and India [Reports] [Article1] [Article2] [Article3]

-          2011-2012 The Child Disability Key Informant Project: Bangladesh and Pakistan [Report] [Article]

I contribute to the Disability Evidence Portal, conducting reviews of reviews to develop Evidence Briefs to support evidence-based decision-making in disability-inclusive development. I was also responsible for developing the Key Informant Working Guide  – a working guide for researchers and implementers wishing to use the Key Informant Approach to identifying children with disabilities in surveys and programs.

I represent ICED at the UNICEF Expert Group on Child Disability Measurement and the World Bank/CDC Washington Group on Disability Statistics. I have written several disability analysis blogs on and (measuring disability article).

In 2018, I completed a Staff PhD based on mywork on disability measurement - in particular the relationship between clinical impairment screening and reported activity limitations in population-based surveys. 

Research Area
Health inequalities
Behaviour change
Capacity strengthening
Evidence use
Global Health
Mobile technologies
Disease and Health Conditions
Eye diseases
Mental health
The Gambia
Myanmar (Burma)
West Bank and Gaza
Sierra Leone

Selected Publications

Exploring the Use of Washington Group Questions to Identify People with Clinical Impairments Who Need Services including Assistive Products: Results from Five Population-Based Surveys.
Boggs D; Kuper H; Mactaggart I; Bright T; Murthy G; Hydara A; McCormick I; Tamblay N; Alvarez ML; Atijosan-Ayodele O
International journal of environmental research and public health
The Gambia National Eye Health Survey 2019: survey protocol
Hydara A; Bastawrous A; Bell S; Boggs D; Bright T; Bobat H; Eaton J; Faal H; Jobe M; Kim MJ
Wellcome Open Research
Prevalence of blindness and distance vision impairment in the Gambia across three decades of eye health programming.
Hydara A; Mactaggart I; Bell SJ; Okoh JA; Olaniyan SI; Aleser M; Bobat H; Cassels-Brown A; Kirkpatrick B; Kim MJ
The British journal of ophthalmology
Interrogating and Reflecting on Disability Prevalence Data Collected Using the Washington Group Tools: Results from Population-Based Surveys in Cameroon, Guatemala, India, Maldives, Nepal, Turkey and Vanuatu.
Mactaggart I; Hasan Bek A; Banks LM; Bright T; Dionicio C; Hameed S; Neupane S; Murthy G; Orucu A; Oye J
International journal of environmental research and public health
\"I'm scared to talk about it\": exploring experiences of incontinence for people with and without disabilities in Vanuatu, using mixed methods.
Wilbur J; Morrison C; Bambery L; Tanguay J; Baker S; Sheppard P; Shem J; Iakavai J; Poilapa R; Mactaggart I
The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
Are Nepal's water, sanitation and hygiene and menstrual hygiene policies and supporting documents inclusive of disability? A policy analysis.
Wilbur J; Scherer N; Mactaggart I; Shrestha G; Mahon T; Torondel B; Hameed S; Kuper H
International journal for equity in health
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