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BACKGROUND: Surveys have been the conventional methods used for identification of people with disabilities; however, they have been observed to be expensive and time-consuming that may not be affordable or practical. As a result, the participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and key informant (KI) approaches have been developed and increasingly used in the resource-poor countries. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the strengths and weaknesses of PRA and KI approaches in the identification of people with disability in resource-poor countries. METHOD: A review of published related papers was performed by searching electronic databases including PubMed, Scirus, Health on the Net (HON), Ovid Medline and SOURCE disability database. RESULTS: A total of 11 relevant papers were identified from the literature that used PRA or KI methods or both. The PRA and KI approaches were not only consistently less expensive than conventional surveys, but also observed to be simple and fast for identifying disabilities according to local perceptions, although they were less sensitive. The evidence showed that PRA and KI processes had the benefit of engaging and developing long-term partnerships with the local communities and so the likelihood of positive long-term impact on the community. CONCLUSIONS: The PRA and KI approaches could be fast and cost-effective methods for identifying people with disabilities as an alternative to surveys. They are especially useful when identification is related to subsequent development of community-based services for persons with disabilities. However, surveys were shown to be more sensitive and therefore more accurate for establishing prevalence rates of impairment.

Original publication




Journal article


Disabil Rehabil

Publication Date





79 - 85


Community Participation, Data Collection, Disabled Persons, Female, Health Resources, Humans, Male, Rural Health Services, Rural Population