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Disabled people not happy with Act
Health Reporter, The Chronicle (Zimbabwe)
August 01, 2007

The Disabled People's Act (DPA) should be amended because it has a bias towards the physically handicapped at the expense of other disabilities, delegates to a National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) workshop in Bulawayo said yesterday.

"I feel the DPA has to be repealed although it might be difficult for the legislators to come up with another name that encompasses all sectors of disability. For this reason, I suggest that the name be retained but some sections which seem biased towards the physically challenged be totally repealed," said one of the participants.

The national research and advocacy officer for NASCOH, Mr Tsarai Mungoni, said the Act was dividing people with disabilities.

"This Act makes the physically challenged people think that that the Act is for them and that they are better than all people with disabilities. However, people with disabilities include the physically challenged, mentally challenged, the visual impaired, the hearing impaired and even the albinos," he said.

He cited Section 23 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which he said states that noone should be discriminated on the basis of his physical ability.

"I feel Section 23 of the Constitution needs immediate repeal because it leaves out some people with disabilities like us, the visually impaired," he said.

Meanwhile, a lack of funds is hampering NASCOH from implementing its activities, an official said yesterday.

In an interview, Mrs Nomsa Sibanda, who works with mentally challenged children in the Midlands province, said a shortage of funds was a major drawback.

"We cannot do our outreach programmes due to lack of finances. At the end we are urban centred, yet we are supposed to reach the rural people as well," she said.

Mrs Sibanda was attending the two day NASCOH Southern Region workshop which ended in Bulawayo yesterday.

"We have a strong desire to visit disabled rural people and listen to their problems and refer them to organisations that can assist them but without funds our dreams can never be fulfilled," she said.

Mrs Sibanda said Midlands province wanted to have statistics of people with disabilities but that needed money.

"We do not have statistics of the children with disabilities. There is need for data collection of those people and that is why we are calling for a census specifically for the disabled so that we may know how many do we have at the moment," she said.

NASCOH is an association of 53 organisations for people living with disability.

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