The Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry has started on consultations to review the National Policy on Disability in a move to incorporate new strategies to reduce vulnerability among Persons with Disabilities.
The process being conducted with key stakeholders at regional level also seeks to devise new ways of ensuring that the inclusion of PWDs in the national development agenda is strengthened.
While addressing a consultative meeting for Western region at Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara on Wednesday, the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze explained that the current policy was instituted in 2006 and issues concerning disability in the development arena have since evolved.
“Once we reduce vulnerability and promote inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, we will be able to enhance equal opportunities for empowerment, participation and protection of rights of Persons with Disabilities irrespective of gender, age and disability category.” He said.
“This is in recognition of the fact that Persons with Disabilities can perform to their full potential when availed equal opportunities,” he added.
Tumwebaze further revealed that the new policy will inform the planning process, resource mobilization and allocation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities with respect to Persons with Disabilities’ concerns at all levels and by all actors.
A study done by the Uganda Bureau of Statistic in 2016 showed that the disability prevalence rate was 12.4%. Of these, 49.26% were males and 50.74% were females. The census estimated that the highest forms of disability were: difficulty seeing 6.5%, difficulty remembering 5.4%; difficulty walking 4.5%; and difficulty hearing 3.1%.
The Minister observed that 12.4% of a given population is a large number of persons that need to be supported and adequately planned for to eliminate exclusion.
The participants appealed to the Ministry to come up with a clear definition of disability so that services get to the intended beneficiaries.
Mrs. Emily Ajiambo, the acting Commissioner Disability and Elderly Affairs, said there is a new Persons with Disabilities Act, 2020, which was enacted early this year and provides legal guidance on matters concerning PWDs, including a definition and a schedule on categorization of disabilities.
She however revealed that the regulations to operationalize the Act are still under development and will be disseminated upon completion and approval.