A national exercise to count and categorise Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) according to level and extent of their physical impairments has started.
The exercise is being conducted by 210 medical specialists. The idea is the brainchild of a recent stakeholder’s retreat that stressed the need to update figures obtained by the Ministry of Health in 2010. At that time, the survey indicated that the number of PWD’s stood at 522,856.
Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) said 107,091 persons had so far been grouped,
The exercise is intended to guide the process of addressing specific needs of PWD’s so as to help them live better and fulfilling lives.
This exercise started in March and it is in line with government policy of promoting equal opportunities and protecting rights of PWD’s. It is expected to end in December.
“When we categorize PWD’s, it will be easy for us to know the exact number of people we are planning for; meaning that support of any form will be provided based on the number identified,” Ndayisaba said.
He pointed out that providing support services had been a challenge without official figures of PWD’s.
PWD’s are being classified in four categories depending on the level or nature of disability and inability to engage in income generating activities.
The first category are those whose extent of disability is measured at 90 percent or above. Persons whose disability is from 70 to 89 percent are placed in category two. The third and fourth categories range from 50 to 69 percent of disability and 30 to 49 percent disability, respectively.
Although the ongoing exercise will consider disabled ex-combatants, they will not benefit from the expected packages because ex-combatants have a special support arrangement with the government through Rwanda Reintegration Demobilization Commission (RDRC).
In 2010, RDRC carried out a similar exercise and identified about 2,570 ex-combatants who have since benefited from government support. In general, ex-combatants categorized get free health insurance and benefit from skills development programmes.