A total of 3,444,360 people, equivalent to ten per cent of the population of 34,443,602 in the country according to the census of 2002 are identified as persons with disabilities.
Also, according to a 2008 research a total of 2,421,276 people, equivalent to 7.8 per cent were identified as persons with disabilities in the country.
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi revealed this in his speech when opening a one-day training of the stakeholders on the deaf blind held recently in Mkuranga district in Coast region.
The training was organised by Deaf Blind Within the Teachers Forum (DBWITEFO) based in Kisarawe district in the region and financed by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).
The speech which was read on his behalf by the District Commissioner, Mercy Silla said more than half a billion of the world population were persons with disabilities due to mental ill health and disability and that according to World Health Organisation (WHO), one person out of ten people in the society was disabled.
He said efforts are being made by the government to enable persons with disabilities including deaf blind persons to do away with poverty by enjoying opportunities similar to those accessed by able-bodied persons such as education and employment.
Dr Mwinyi said: “There are efforts made internationally and nationally aiming at enabling a person with disability, including deaf blind person to do away with poverty.”
He said that, for example, the agreement of the Salamanka declaration of 1994 aimed at making sure that education is imparted to all children with disabilities as equal as other able children. That, if teachers are well prepared for the children with the special needs, a gap which was found between the inclusive education and special education disabilities, would disappear.
He said that the syllabus for the teachers should consider issues of persons with disabilities while teaching should consider special needs of the trainees. Education provided should be compatible with the needs of the children.
Universities and colleges should conduct adequate researches in preparing the teachers of the inclusive education, teaching equipment programmes for the children in order reach the target.
The stakeholders included the district executive director, district education officers, school education inspectors, social welfare officers, community development officers, ward executive officers, representatives of organisations of people with disabilities and non-governmental organisations of the people with disabilities in the district.
He said the government was implementing the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in March 2007.
On April 23, 2009, the government through his ministry in parliament ratified the convention which urges member countries to protect the rules and various rights of the persons with the disabilities.
In 2004, the government approved the policy on development services for persons with disabilities and their participation in various economic, political, social and cultural programmes.