9% Zimbos living with disabilities; govt addressing social needs of vulnerable population

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By Reason Razao

GOVERNMENT says findings of the 2022 Population and Housing Census Functioning Survey have shown the urgency to address broader social needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs), which include provision
of technology for use at workplaces and educational institutions, among others.

According to a report presented to Cabinet by Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, an estimated 9, 2% of the population consists of persons with functional difficulties throughout the country.

Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said: “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 or 59, 6% of that figure.

“Matabeleland North has the highest number at 11, 4%, while Harare has the lowest number at 5, 2%,” she added.

Rural areas have 74% of persons with varying degrees of difficulty in performing activities, while urban areas account for 26 % of that population, according to Mutsvangwa.

“Females have higher proportions of difficulty across the six domains of difficulty in both rural and urban areas.

“The prevalence of people with “a lot of difficulty” in at least 1 domain is 1, 6 %, while 0,3 % are in the ‘cannot do at all’ category,” she said.

According to statistics provided by the minister, the country’s total population of 13 066 443 consists of persons aged 5 years and above.

One 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,” said Mutsvangwa.

Prevalence of disability in children aged 5-17 years is 3,5 percent, with disability being more in rural than in urban areas.

Mutsvangwa also revealed the total number of persons with albinism stood at 9 753, which is one 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.”