Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, in the Legislative Council today (January 16):
Will the Government inform this Council of the following respective breakdowns in respect of recipients of Normal Disability Allowance and Higher Disability Allowance:
(a) the current number of recipients of such allowances for each type of disability, as well as their percentages in the respective populations of persons with the relevant disability; and
(b) the number of persons granted such allowances because of "illness resulting in being bedridden", and its percentage in the population of persons with chronic illness; and the number of recipients for each of the three types of chronic illness that they most commonly suffer?
(a)(i) In respect of the first part of the question, as at the end of December 2001, there were a total of 93 514 Disability Allowance (DA) recipients, including:
* 57 038 who were physically disabled (excluding those suffering from total blindness);
* 5 115 who were totally blind;
* 4 356 who were profoundly deaf; and
* 27 005 who were mentally disabled.
For further details regarding the breakdowns into Higher DA and Normal DA, please refer to the table at Annex 1.
(ii) With respect to the second part of the question regarding their percentages in the respective populations of persons with the relevant disability, we have examined how the information can be appropriately provided.
Currently, statistics on people with disabilities in Hong Kong are kept in the Central Registry for Rehabilitation (CRR) which collects and compiles information on people with disabilities through relevant Government departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with a view to providing statistics on disability to Government and NGOs as a reference for the planning and delivery of rehabilitation services. Registration with CRR is on a voluntary basis. For categories of information kept in the CRR, please see Annex 2.
Separately, a household survey on persons with disabilities and chronic diseases was conducted in 2000 by the Census and Statistics Department as one of the Special Topics Enquiries under the General Household Survey to provide an estimate on the prevalence rate of persons with selected types of disabilities and chronic diseases, and information on the basic profiles of persons with disabilities and chronic diseases. For details of the survey with regard to persons with disabilities, please see Annex 3.
It should be noted that the statistics collected by the CRR and the household survey are for different purposes and with different methodologies. Registration with the CRR is on a voluntary basis, while data collected in the survey is basically on a self-reporting basis. In the case of DA, disability is defined strictly on medical ground in accordance with the specified criteria in order to assess the eligibility of an applicant. Hence, we do not think it is appropriate nor entirely meaningful to simply compare the number of different types of DA recipients with the relevant statistics in the other two databases. However, for Members' reference, we have listed related statistics in Annex 4.
(b) As at the end of December 2001, there were a total of 1 924 persons receiving DA due to 'illness, injury or deformity resulting in being bedridden'. We do not have separate statistics on the number of DA recipients due to 'illness resulting in being bedridden' alone, nor its percentage in the population of persons with chronic illness.
As regards information on the three most common types of chronic diseases under this category, and the number of recipients for each type, as DA recipients are classified according to the nature of their physical or mental disabling medical condition and not by the nature of their illness, we do not have statistics on the nature of their illnesses, or the number of recipients under each type.
Table: Statistics on DA Cases (as at the end of December 2001)
No. of Higher No. of Normal Total
DA recipients DA recipients
(a) Physical disablement
i) Illness, injury or
deformity resulting in
being bedridden 576 1 348 1 924
ii) Total blindness 113 5 002 5 115
(e.g. loss of
paraplegia etc.) 10 295 44 819 55 114
(b) Profound deafness 1 4 355 4 356
(c) Mental disablement 2 410 24 595 27 005
Total 13 395 80 119 93 514
Central Registry for Rehabilitation (CRR)
The CRR collects and compiles information on people with disabilities in Hong Kong through relevant government departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with a view to providing statistics on disability to Government and NGOs as a reference for the planning and delivery of rehabilitation services. Registration with CRR is on a voluntary basis. Information on people with disabilities is fed into CRR through government departments and NGOs providing rehabilitation services. These agencies report to CRR when they come into contact with a disabled client for the first time and they are required to obtain his/her written consent before they can report the client's particulars to CRR with the Registration Form. People with disabilities can also choose to register directly with CRR.
The CRR covers 8 selected types of disability, namely:
a. physical handicap;
b. hearing impairment;
c. visual impairment;
d. speech impairment;
e. mental illness;
g. mental handicap; and
h. visceral disability.
The relevant statistics is at Annex 4.
Survey on Persons with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases
A household survey on persons with disabilities and chronic diseases was conducted in 2000 by the Census and Statistics Department as one of the Special Topics Enquiries under the General Household Survey. The survey provided an estimate on the prevalence rate of persons with selected types of disabilities and chronic diseases, and information on the basic profiles of persons with disabilities and chronic diseases. Under the setting of a household survey, interviewers could not conduct comprehensive medical assessment tests to verify whether a respondent was disabled. In line with the methodology of similar household surveys undertaken by many overseas statistical offices, a practicable approach was adopted in the survey whereby a person was defined as being disabled if, according to that person, he/she had been diagnosed as such by qualified health personnel or if he/she had perceived himself/herself as having some disabling conditions.
Under the survey, persons with disabilities were defined as those who (i) had been diagnosed as having one of more of the following seven conditions; or (ii) had perceived themselves as having one or more of the first four of the following seven conditions which had lasted, or were likely to last, for a period of 6 months or more at the time of enumeration:
a. restriction in body movement;
b. seeing difficulty
c. hearing difficulty
d. speech difficulty
e. mental illness
f. autism; and
g. mental handicap.
The relevant statistics is at Annex 4.
Breakdown of the Number of Registrants on Central Registry for Rehabilitation (CRR) by Types of Disability@
Types of disability Number of registrants
Hearing impairment 12 669
Visual impairment 13 500
Physical handicap 58 037
Speech impairment 2 072
Mental handicap 29 048
Mental illness 15 089
Autism 1 922
Visceral disability 4 785
Total 137 122
Total number of registrants on the CRR* 121 966
@ As at March 31 2001.
* Registrants may have more than one type of disability.
Findings of the Survey on Persons with Disabilities
Selected types of disability Total number of persons
Hearing difficulty 69 700
Seeing difficulty 73 900
Restriction in body movement 103 500
Speech difficulty 18 500
Mental illness 50 500
Autism 3 000
All persons with disabilities (excluding
mentally handicapped persons)* 269 500
* A person might have more than one selected type of disability and hence the overall number of persons with disability is smaller than the sum of the number of persons with individual types of disability.
Based on a separate method of statistical assessment, the number of persons with mental handicap is estimated to be in the range of 62 000 - 87 000.
End/Wednesday, January 16, 2002