Speaking at the official launch of the long-awaited policy, Zanzibar’s Minister of State in the Second Vice-President’s Office, Mohammed Abood described the policy as key for the well-being of PWDs.
He said among other things the policy has spelled out national agendas incorporating people with disabilities, relating to the country’s sustainable development goals by removing obstacles that prevent incorporation of disabled people in the quest for better social services.
He said the Isles government, through the policy, recognizes the importance of people with disabilities in the country’s development process and the responsibility for their incorporation in sustainable development.
He however warned people who demean people with disabilities saying the government will take stern measures against them.
He also warned people who hide people with disabilities in their homes without registering them to get appropriate social services, saying that steps will be taken against them.
Similarly, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Resident Representative Dr Wilfred Ochan explained that the policy aim is to assist the Zanzibar Government in the implementation of its various projects to help people with disabilities.
This is especially when it is clear according to available data that many people in this group live in poor families.
The Director of the Department for People with Disabilities, Abeda Rashid Abdallah praised UNFPA for enabling various projects to assist disabled people in their development.
This includes the formulation of the policy that was amended in 2004 as it earlier did not go in tandem with international agreements governing these issues, the director stated.
The new policy aims to increase incorporation of various policies and has touched women’s issues, health services, friendly infrastructure and others.
The launch of the policy on people with disabilities has taken place simultaneously with its distribution to representatives of various institutions and government departments like the Police Force and Immigration Department.
It features tablets with special programmes to enable the collection of data on people with disabilities in the Isles.
The national disability survey in 2008 indicated that 3.2 million Tanzanians (7.8percent) of the population aged 7 years and above have some form of disability, and up to 5.4 million (13.2 percent) are affected by disability.
Tanzania Mainland has slightly higher prevalence of disability (13.3 percent) than Zanzibar (9.3 percent), the survey highlighted.