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March 2020

Dear all,

Sunday was International Women’s Day, and I would like to start by paying tribute to the wonderful women in our ICED team, among our collaborators, research subjects and beyond! As the saying goes, “Where there is a woman, there is magic.” But we must also remember that (at least) one in seven women in the world have disabilities, and that they often face double discrimination. Let us take this opportunity to reassert our collective ambition that their rights are fulfilled, and they are enabled to reach their full potential.  
We are planning for a new free online course (a MOOC) on global disability research, as part of our PENDA programme. This course will aim to support the global community to generate more and more robust data on disability. Please contact us if you have tips or suggestions to guide us as we work on it. We already have two existing MOOCs – Global Disability and Health and Integrated Healthcare for Children with Developmental Disabilities, both of which will run for 3 weeks starting April 6. You can register at the links provided.
We are excited to be starting a new partnership this month. Tracey Smythe received a NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research Development Award to work together with Stellenbosch University over the next 9 months. Together we are asking "how can we strengthen the health system to achieve universal health coverage for people with stroke in South Africa?" We will do this through research, partnership, capability building and stakeholder engagement, working with an exciting cross-disciplinary team.
March 3 was World Hearing Day. Did you know that around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, including 34 million children? Dr Robin Youngs, honorary member of ICED, gave a video interview, discussing his work on global hearing loss. We also have two publications on hearing loss this month, reflecting our activity in this area. The first considered the feasibility of combining rapid surveys of hearing and vision, and the second showed that Smartphone based tools are valid for measuring hearing. Finally – well done Tess Bright for submitting her PhD this month on survey methods for estimating the prevalence of hearing loss!
We are very aware of the potential seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, and are monitoring it closely in terms of activities and events. Read this interesting article in the Guardian, on the difficulties facing disabled people in the UK in relation to the outbreak.

Best wishes,
Hannah Kuper

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

Follow us on Twitter - @ICED_LSHTM.


PENDA is a major ICED project, funded by DFID, aiming to increase evidence to support disability inclusive development. We will focus on developing people, knowledge and tools.

Some updates on PENDA this month:


  • We have recruited two PhD students, who are women with disabilities from Zambia and Uganda. Welcome to the PENDA team Queen and Florence!


  • We have short-listed the teams for the impact evaluation that we are commissioning out, and are planning a second open competition for later in 2020.
  • We are busy finalising the protocol for the impact evaluation of the Disability Inclusive Poverty Graduation Programme in Uganda, together with BRAC and HI.
  • We are developing the methods for the impact evaluation of the STAR programme for inclusive livelihood in Bangladesh, together with BIGD and DID partners.
  • We are wrapping up fieldwork for the school inclusion study in India and Malawi, including the qualitative fieldwork.


  • As mentioned above, we have started to plan for a MOOC on disability research methods. The soft launch of the evidence portal is imminent!


Tracey Smythe, Sarah Polack and colleague published a Systematic review of interventions for reducing stigma experienced by children with disabilities and their families in low and middle-income countries: state of the evidence in TMIH. This review identified 20 studies, half of which focused on epilepsy, but most had a high risk of bias.
Tess Bright and colleagues published Rationale and feasibility of a combined rapid assessment of avoidable blindness and hearing loss protocol in PLoS One. This paper sets out the feasibility of combining the rapid assessments of blindness and hearing loss. The paper concluded that this is feasible, and much cheaper than conducting two stand-alone surveys.
Tess Bright and Sarah Polack also co-authored the paper Validity of hearing screening using hearTest smartphone-based audiometry: performance evaluation of different response modes in the International journal of Audiology. They showed that smartphone based tools are accurate for the identification of both disabling hearing loss and any level of hearing loss in adults and children.

Sarah Polack, Nathaniel Scherer, Shaffa Hameed and Dorothy Boggs launched their report on Disability and mental health among Syrian refugees in Sultanbeyli, Istanbul: 2019 Survey Report. This survey aims to provide reliable data on disability and mental health among Syrian refugees in Istanbul, with which to inform service planning, policy and advocacy.
Finally, an editorial was written about the Missing Billion Report in the American Journal of Public Health – Assessing Global Health Care: The Lens of Disability.

Focus on... Shaffa Hameed

I’m a Research Fellow and have been with ICED since 2017- long enough for me to stop saying I’m new to  disability! My background is in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), on which I did a PhD at LSE. Before moving to London a second time, I was working on SRH in the Maldives. It’s where I grew up and where  most of my (very large) family lives. I enjoy anything to do with the sea, though the water is too cold here in the UK, so now you’re more likely to find me at the cinema.

What project am I working? My interests are at the intersection of SRHR and disability. I’m currently working on a systematic review of interventions that promote SRHR for people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. I’m also wrapping up an impact evaluation of the Disability Allowance in the Maldives- we just completed a series of dissemination events throughout the country, for participants and stakeholders. Being a qualitative researcher, I’m lucky enough to be involved in a variety of projects where I do the qualitative component of a larger study- a great example is the study on mental health and disability among Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Why is this important? The importance of SRHR is becoming increasingly recognised, but more remains to be done. Once you add disability to this mix, it becomes apparent that a LOT more needs to be done. SRHR for people with disabilities is getting more research attention but it has tended to stall after exploring barriers to access- there is an urgent need for interventions to address these barriers, and good quality data evaluating effectiveness of these interventions.

Upcoming Seminars and Events by LSHTM

And external to LSHTM

You can find all our previous seminars (including the audio recordings and slides) here.

Other things of interest

    Read previous newsletters










    Supporting Families Affected by the Zika virus


    Getting to Know Cerebral Palsy

    Working with parent groups – a training resource for facilitators, parents, caregivers, and persons with cerebral palsy.

    This manual aims to increase knowledge and skills in caring for a child with cerebral palsy. Research highlighted the significant needs of the caregivers, and how they can gain a huge amount of support from meeting with each other in an understanding environment.

    It promotes a participatory learning approach with an emphasis on working with groups and the empowerment of parents and caregivers.

     Download the manual (in various languages)

    “Before, my family and people in my community used to say ‘this child’s suffering is a result of parent’s sin’. After taking the training I have explained what causes cerebral palsy to others. Now, no-one says anything like this.” 
    Parent, Sirajganj, Bangladesh

    Global community

    Children with developmental disabilities and their families

    Join a global community to share ideas, access the latest research, find solutions, meet new people and collaborate on innovative and exciting projects.


    Community Ear and Hearing Health Journal

    This annual publication promotes good ear and hearing health in low and middle-income countries.

    It's a forum for exchanging ideas, experience and information that facilitate continuing education for all levels of health worker. It is delivered to almost 4,000 healthcare providers worldwide. Some issues have been translated into French and Spanish.

    Read previous issues
    Press and resources

    Press articles and further reading

    Read articles on ICED activity in the international press and on Use disability resources from across the web.

    Read press articles on our work columns

    Further reading

    Partner groups at LSHTM

    Global disability groups

    Further reading

    • Handicap International SOURCE Resource depository: Large depository of materials related to disability and inclusive development, curated by HI.
    • Disability and the Global South: Open Access journal on critical disability thinking and perspectives from the Global South
    • UNICEF Disability Homepage: Collated United Nations reports, documents and videos related to disability (among both adults and children)
    • World Report on Disability: Developed by the WHO and World Bank. Source is an international online resource centre run by Handicap International. It is designed to strengthen the management, use and impact of information on disability and inclusion. 
    • WHO MiNDbank: an online platform which brings together a range of country and international resources, covering mental health, substance abuse, disability, general health, human rights and development. 

    Blogs and opinion pieces

    Short films about disabilities


    Global Health and Disability

    All files and contents in this folder are © LSHTM unless otherwise stated. You are welcome to reuse, adapt and share these files for non-commercial teaching and learning purposes without asking for permission. You must acknowledge the International Centre for Evidence in Disability, LSHTM as the original creator and provide a link to our website We would also very much appreciate hearing how you are using the content, please let us know at

    Download the full course
    Download content from each week


    Week 1: Disability and its importance to the global development agenda

    ZIP (522MB)|ZIP (no videos) (9MB)

    Week 2: Health, wellbeing and disability

    ZIP (807MB)|ZIP (no videos) (19MB)

    Week 3: Access to health care and rehabilitation services

    ZIP (904MB)|ZIP (no videos) (154MB)

    Download individual resources

    Video: Welcome to the course

    Week 1: Disability and its importance to the global development agenda

    Video: Welcome to week 1

    Video & teaching slides: Why does disability matter globally?

    Video:  Why does disability matter – Personal perspectives

    Article: Why does disability matter – individual case studies

    Article: Why does disability matter to International Development? Part 1

    Article: Nothing about us without us

    Video: What does disability mean – personal perspectives

    Video: Attitudes to disability

    Video: What does disability mean – a framework

    Article: Measuring disability: Why would you want to and how do you do it?

    Video: What is the relationship between impairments and disability?

    Video: what are the common impairments related to disability?

    Article: Why does impairment matter?

    Video: Summary of week 1

    Week 2: Health, wellbeing and disability

    Video: Welcome to week 2