ABOUT 5% of the Namibian population of 2,5 million live with some form of disability and continue facing challenges, despite the country having made significant progress to empower people with disabilities and promoting their inclusion throughout society.
The United Nations resident coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Anita Kiki Gbeho, said at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebrated at Keetmanshoop yesterday that the challenges people with disabilities often face include little or no access to information, transport problems and unemployment.
The UN representative further said 87% of Namibian children with disabilities who are between the ages of 0-4 years have never attended early childhood development (ECD) programmes, while the unemployment rate of disabled persons is 39%, compared to the national rate of 28%.
However, when it comes to disability issues, Namibia was already showcasing best practices on the African continent, as the country signed and ratified the UN Convention on Rights, and this year was awarded disability ambassadorial country status by the African Disability Alliance.
Gbeho added that Namibia has also implemented the National Disability Policy of 1997 and the National Disability Council Act No. 26 of 2004, as well as endorsed the Continental Plan of Action for the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.
"Through the implementation of national, regional and international development agendas, Namibia is empowering people with disabilities, and promoting inclusion throughout society," she noted.
Gbeho said "the UN in Namibia, your partner of choice, is committed to the Vision 2030 goals and equality for all; a Namibian nation driven by health and educated people, and where no one, most of all the disabled, feel left out," she pledged. //Karas governor Lucia Basson urged people living with disabilities to take part in all social and economic programmes of government.
Similarly, she encouraged families to register their children and relatives with disabilities at government offices for them to be included in mainstream development efforts.