Just above 9% of the country’s population was argued disabled according to the census carried out earlier this year while women remained the most affected as presented to Cabinet today.
“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the study established that there are 1 207 140 (9.2%) persons with functional difficulties throughout the country. Women account for 718 899 (59.6%) of that population.” The Chairperson of the Post Cabinet Brief, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said.
Matabeleland was viewed as the hardest hit while rural areas constituted the highest population of people with disabilities in the statistics complied through the Washington Group strategy which compiles disability information based on four categories.
“Matabeleland North has the highest number at 11.4%, while Harare has the lowest number at 5.2%. Rural areas have 74% of persons with varying degrees of difficulty in performing activities, while urban areas account for 26% of that population.” Hon Mutsvangwa also said.
“The nation is being informed that the 2022 Population and Housing Census collected data on disability using an assessment tool called the Washington Group (WG) short set questions. The questions asked about difficulties in the following domains: seeing; hearing; walking or climbing; remembering or concentrating; self-care; and communication.” Mutsvangwa highlighted.
The statistics were viewed salient in meeting the effort of government to align operations with the broader Sustainable Development Goals as well as inform policy process.
“To monitor the quality and outcomes of policies for persons with disabilities; address international obligations such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Conventions on disability; and to determine the broader social needs of persons with disabilities, such as provision of technology for use in employment and education among others.” The Chairperson of the Post Cabinet Brief said.
Disability was also viewed prevalent among the 5-17 age group while albinism was also quite high as females remained more vulnerable to disability.
“The nation is also being informed that the country’s total population of 13 066 443 consists of persons aged 5 years and above. 1 in 1 200 people in this age group faces a lot of difficulty in both seeing and hearing. Illness and ageing are the largest underlying causes of difficulty in both seeing and hearing, while “born with difficulty” is the major cause for difficulty in communication. Prevalence of disability in children aged 5-17 years is 3,5%, with disability being more in rural than in urban areas.”
Furthermore, “The nation is further informed that the total number of persons with albinism is 9 753, which is 1 in every 1 500 persons. Females with albinism are slightly higher in all provinces except Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Masvingo. These findings of the 2022 Population and Housing Census Functioning Survey will go a long way in guiding Government’s efforts at targeting interventions across the sectors.” Hon Senator Mutsvangwa also emphasised.
Zimbabwe has sought vast measures to be inclusive of People With Disabilities with measures that include Disabled Persons political representation, disability policies having been employed to close the gap