DISABILITY PATTERNS IN BHUTAN

BHOLANATH BHATTARAI
MA DEMOGRAPHY (MAY 2010)
Population Institute


Abstract

Bhutan has actively embarked on a policy improving the lives of people with disability (PWD) by providing better services and facilities. However, information on people with disability was limited until Bhutan conducted its first ever Population and Housing Census in May 2005. No studies using this data on people with disability have been conducted so far. The study of people with disability is becoming an integral part of the study on community, society and country as a whole. Thus, this paper hopes to contribute essential knowledge and information on people with disability in Bhutan.

The Population and Housing Census of Bhutan defines disability as “a functional limitation in performing certain tasks/activities due to ongoing long term physical, mental and health condition” (UN,1998 as cited in PHCB, 2005). The data on disability is studied by type and timing across socio-demographic characteristics like education, employment and marital status. Univariate and bivariate analyses were employed in this study.

Findings from the study reveal that more males suffer from disability than females. Disability in Bhutan is a rural phenomenon. Its prevalence is noted at 3.4 per cent of the total population. Very few PWDs are literate or have formal education. Employment among people with disability acquired since birth is higher than those with disability acquired after birth. A higher proportion of people with disability acquired since birth have never married compared to those with disability acquired after birth.