Policies and laws in support of disability in African countries

Disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.World Health Organization

Over a billion people in the world live with some form of disability and rates of disability continue to go up. Unfortunately, people with disabilities tend to have more difficulties in their daily lives, they often do not receive needed healthcare, or they are more likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled people. Children with disabilities are less likely to receive an adequate education and learn how read and write.

However, these barriers can be overcome by increasing public awareness, providing adequate funding, adopting national strategies and plans of action and, last but not least, ensuring the involvement of people with disabilities in the implementation of policies and programmes.

Many countries in Africa have adopted policies or strategies for persons with disabilities.

Kenya, for example, has implemented a National Plan of Action, drafted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which aims to ensure that disabled people have equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds. 

In 2018, also Nigeria has developed a Discrimination against person with disabilities (prohibition) Act“.  Their main objective is to provide full integration of persons with disabilities into the society, and that disabled persons are not discriminated on the ground of disability by any person or institution in any manner or circumstance.

Another country that can be added to this list is Ethiopia with its policy on disability. According to the Ethiopian National Plan of Action of Persons with Disabilities (2012-2021), the 95% of disabled persons in the country are living below the poverty line and are among the most marginalised groups in society. For this reason, the mission of the policy is to contribute to the creation of a society where persons with disabilities fully exercise their rights.

(Link to the website listing the African countries that passed laws and policies in support of disabled persons)

Tailor with hearing impairment at work in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo from Flickr by Fiorente A./ILO with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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