‘INCLUDE DEAF IN NATIONAL AGENDA’

By NATION REPORTER
THERE is need to accommodate the interests of the deaf in the national development agenda, says Zambia Deaf Youth and Women Executive Director Frank Musukuwa.
Mr Musukwa said policies for persons with disabilities are good but there are no resources allocated to the implementation of such policies to promote interests of the deaf and their participation in national affairs.
Mr Musukwa was speaking in Kitwe  during a two-day summit for deaf leaders from different organisations.
He said the introduction of the disability Act number 6 of 2012 was a welcome move, but added that the provisions had not been implemented as they were merely on paper.
He said deaf people continued to face challenges of access to education and health due to challenges in communication despite having good laws and policies.
Mr Musukwa said the deaf continued to face barriers as it was difficult for the impaired to communicate and that there were few qualified teachers for people with special needs.
Mr Musukwa also said dissemination of health information to deaf people was poor as they did not have information on HIV and other health issues.
He has since appealed to President Edgar Lungu to included people with disabilities in the national budget preparation so that they could help implement the policies and laws.
Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu said government was committed the development agenda, which takes into account people with disabilities.
He said government was ready to work with people with disabilities adding that they should take advantage of the conducive environment to participate in national programmes.
And Give Back Community Zambia Executive Director Francis Phiri Zambia should ensure that schools and health facilities should have staff members who understand sign language.
Mr Phiri said if sign language was included in all government institutions at different levels, the deaf would be able to contribute positively to the development process.

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