16 February 2013

Zambia: 'View of Disabled Changing for Better'

THE negative perception of people living with disabilities is now changing, Livingstone Network of People Living with Disability chairperson George Mizinga has said.

Mr Mizinga said many Zambians were now appreciating the contribution of disabled people to the nation's economy due to increased sentitisation efforts.

He said people living with disabilities in Livingstone were even part of the by-election conflict management team.

Mr Mizinga paid tribute to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) through the district election office for including members of the network in the conflict management team.

Mr Mizinga urged the Government to ensure that the people living with disabilities had a stake in the preparations for the August 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly.

Livingstone District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Mwala Imasiku said Zambia had recorded increased publicity on disability issues especially through the media.

Mr Imasiku said the role of the media was critical in informing and educating the people.

"The Government has evidently illustrated through pronouncements, manifesto and policy direction that they are willing and concerned to help improve living standards of poor people in general and persons with disabilities in particular," he said.

Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Zambia senior advisor, Alick Nyirenda said the country should introduce legislation which would ensure that all infrastructure in the country was user-friendly to disabled people.

He said accessible infrastructure was required especially as Zambia was preparing to co-host the UNWTO general assembly.

Mr Nyirenda noted that most infrastructure in the country was inaccessible to people living with disabilities.

He urged the National Heritage Conservation Commission to ensure that its heritage sites were accessible to people living with disabilities.

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