Main causes of disability


The National Population and Housing Census of 2005 classified the main causes of disability as those resulting from: birth (shown in dark blue in the figure), war (shown in purple); accident (shown in green), drug addiction (shown in light blue), disease (shown in yellow) and other (shown in grey).  These are presented at a country level in the following figure:

Figure 3: Prevalence of different causes of disabilities

The most frequently reported causes of disabilities are those resulting from birth and disease namely 39% and 28% respectively of the total disabilities. The relatively small percentage resulting from war can probably be explained by the fact that the war was over 30 years ago and many victims are no longer alive.  It should also be noted that often it is difficult to identify the cause of the disability so classification is difficult. Furthermore the category ‘at birth’ does not necessarily relate to only congenital defects but could also be indicative of difficulties during either pregnancy or labour. The results could also have been affected by social stigma particularly that related to children with disabilities or to members of a household with a drug abuse problem. Finally, the current classification does not allow the clear identification of UXO victims.

The map reveals patterns of the different causes of disability across the country. In urban areas accidents are the most likely cause, while in some regions such as the eastern tip of Saravane, Xiengkhuang and Huaphanh there is a cluster where accidents of war are the cause.  The high density of people with disabilities in these war-affected areas suggests that besides UXO related disabilities there may also be genetic defects related to the use of chemical weapons such as the defoliants used during the war.
More detailed information would be useful for the identification of the causes of preventable disabilities and to ensure that there are adequate services for people affected by the wide range of disabilities recorded in the census.


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