Senators are advocating for an expedited count and categorization of people with disabilities to ensure adequate support for their unique requirements. This call was made during the Senate’s plenary sitting on July 18, where they adopted the report presented by the Committee on Social Affairs and Human Rights.
The report focused on overseeing interventions aimed at improving education and healthcare for individuals with disabilities.
The Senate acknowledged the inclusion of people with disabilities aged 5 years and above in Rwanda’s 5th Population and Housing Census conducted in 2022. However, they identified a significant challenge: the census did not account for children under the age of five who have disabilities.
This omission is particularly concerning as it includes those who should be receiving nursery (pre-primary) education and specialized healthcare.
Senators discovered that accurate statistics on the number of people with disabilities, the categories (levels) of their disabilities, and the necessary support were lacking at the district level. This dearth of information impedes effective planning and hinders the development of appropriate solutions for individuals with disabilities.
“While presenting the aforementioned report to the plenary, Senator Cyprien Niyomugabo, Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs and Human Rights, emphasized that unless a comprehensive study on people with disabilities, their categories of disabilities, and required support is conducted in districts, addressing their problems will remain challenging.”
In response, the senatorial committee recommends that the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) conduct a specific count to determine the actual number of people with disabilities across all categories, identify the types of disabilities they have, and ascertain the necessary support they require. This approach aligns with the goal of addressing their issues in a sustainable manner.
To facilitate this undertaking, the committee acknowledges that the NCPD has been allocated Rwf800 million in the current fiscal year (2023-2024) to support the census of people with disabilities and their categorization. The first phase of the census will be conducted in 15 districts.
According to data from the 5th Population and Housing Census Rwanda 2022, there were 391,775 people with disabilities aged 5 years and above among a total resident population of 13.24 million, representing a disability prevalence rate of 3.4% in the country.
Alvera Mukabaramba, Senate Vice President in charge of Finance and Administration, highlighted the importance of having specialists conduct the census and categorization of people with disabilities to ensure accuracy. She also noted that such an undertaking requires a significant budget.
“While the process was initiated in 2014-2015, we discovered that it involved substantial costs. Approximately Rwf2 billion was spent to categorize 150,000 people with disabilities,” she said.