Hdca thematic group on health & disability: developing, adapting and testing outcome measures for assessing capabilities in different settings: experiences from bangladesh, germany, uk and uganda using mixed-methods.

Greco, Giulia (2018). 'HDCA thematic group on Health & Disability: Developing, adapting and testing outcome measures for assessing capabilities in different settings: experiences from Bangladesh, Germany, UK and Uganda using mixed-methods.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


Standard indicators of wellbeing such as the QALY for health and GDP per capita for economic development have been increasingly regarded by academics and policy makers as being too narrow in focus. They fail to address the complexity of human nature, social progress, and issues of equity. The ‘measuring wellbeing’ agenda calls for improved and new statistical measures, aimed at filling the gap between standard economic statistics (which are mainly focused on measuring the material wealth of people) and indicators that have a more direct bearing on people’s lives. In order to better assess and monitor progress in society, there is a need to develop, adapt, and test multidimensional measures of wellbeing that encompass the full range of factors that make life worth living. Composite indicators are recognised as a useful tool in policy analysis. They can measure complex multidimensional concepts which cannot be captured by a single indicator and are easier to interpret than a series of separate indicators. There are a number of challenges that need to be considered when constructing a composite measure of wellbeing: the selection of dimensions and indicators; the selection of relative weights for aggregating the dimensions; the validation of the measure.

This proposed panel session present research experiences from a diverse range of settings that challenge standard health-related outcome measures and adapt, develop and test multidimensional measures grounded on Sen’s Capabilities Approach in low- and middle-income countries, using mixed-methods.

The first study by Simon and colleagues reports the findings of the adaptation and validation of the OxCAP-MH in Germany. The German version of OxCAP-MH questionnaire is found to be valid and reliable in measuring mental health patients’ wellbeing.

The second study by Baba and colleagues employs stated preference (SP) techniques to identify, quantify and value broader wellbeing outcomes in two different community settings: an urban regeneration programme in the UK and a food and nutrition initiative in Bangladesh.

The third study by Greco and colleagues uses focus group discussions to identify and value the capabilities of women at high risk of HIV infection in urban Kampala, Uganda. This study is part of the adaptation process of the Women’s Capabilities Index that was developed in Malawi.

The three studies respond to the need of creating or adapting new outcome measures for evaluating complex interventions such as mental health, community empowerment and HIV prevention programmes in low- and high-income countries. They unpack and tackle some of the key challenges of operationalising the Capabilities Approach and employ a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, according to the specific context and the target population.

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