Zambia commemorates international day for persons with disabilities
Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which is celebrated on December 3rd.
Zambia: Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which is celebrated on December 3rd.
This year's commemoration began with a march from the University of Zambia (UNZA) to the Lusaka Show Grounds, where the event was held, with the theme "Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world."
During the commemoration, Guest of Honour Community Development and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba stated that people with disabilities are equal partners in Zambia's development, thus the government's commitment to ensuring their inclusion in all activities, particularly decision-making processes.
This, according to Ms. Mwamba, can be seen in President Hakainde Hichilema's appointments of people with disabilities to a number of key positions.
She also stated that the theme for this year was chosen strategically in order to raise awareness about disability issues as the country strives for a sustainable future for all by addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, and exclusion.
Ms. Mwamba said: "The government has improved access to digital educational materials by making tablets available to learners, including those with disabilities." Sign language has also been included in the curriculum for health personnel, particularly nurses who serve as front-line service providers.
"As part of the effort to end poverty, budgetary allocations for the Social Cash Transfer and Food Security Pack programmes have been increased, resulting in an increase in the number of beneficiaries."
Beatrice Mutali, UN Resident Coordinator, praised the government for its efforts and commitment to promoting human rights and equal opportunities for all.
Ms. Mutali assured the Government of the UN's support in promoting a society that values the participation of all people, regardless of their abilities.
"The UN team in Zambia is currently implementing the UN Joint Programme on Social Protection, which assists the government in strengthening systems and frameworks that promote disability inclusion," she explained.
She also emphasised the importance of removing physical barriers that prevent people with disabilities from exercising their rights.
"We must ensure that buildings have appropriate signage, elevators have sensors, and that all buildings are generally accessible to people with disabilities. This should apply to both public and private infrastructure "Ms Mutali said.
And Moses Luneta of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) thanked the government for its efforts to include people with disabilities in the country's development.
"The new dawn government is pro-disability, and people with disabilities have been hired in recent education and health worker recruitments. Persons with disabilities feel included for the first time "Luneta said.
Zambia Federation of Disability Organizations (ZAFOD) vice president Paul Mbewe expressed gratitude to all stakeholders who participated in the commemoration and urged members of the public to be champions of disability equality.