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Option #2: Disability is a result of the interaction between a person’s impairments, arising from disease or injury, and the environment. The environment includes both the physical structures (buildings, ramps, and braille signs) and social structures (discrimination, stigma, laws, and policies). Research what laws or policies regarding accessibility are in place in your district or country that can help reduce disability by providing access to physical structures, reduce stigma and discrimination, and provide access to health care services.

The United Republic of Tanzania undertook a situational analysis of the rights of persons with disabilities (PWD) with the report being published in 2021. The report highlights the following policies/legislations that foster rights of PWD to access services:

PWD Specific Legislations/Policies:
1. Tanzania has ratified the UN’s Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
2. Persons with Disabilities Act
3. National Policy on Disability

The above policies guarantee people with disabilities the right to social support, healthcare, education, employment, accessibility and rehabilitation. However, the policies do not acknowledge factors such as non-inclusive environment and infrastructure that can contribute to exclusion, particularly for children. There is not a particular focus on the specific rights of women with disabilities as well. While the policies are in place, the implementation is inadequate particularly in the areas of awareness on disability inclusion among stakeholders, social stigma, inaccessibility of services and the physical environment and inadequate funding, among others.

PWD often face challenges in accessing public infrastructure, public transportation and recreation spaces. There is further access challenges in rural settings and women and children with disabilities are more marginalized than others.

The government of Tanzania has made progress in integrating disability in service provision, with the creation of loans for students with disabilities, construction of schools inclusive of PWDs and the appointment of PWDs to ministerial positions.

The biggest challenge across these policies is lack of adequate funding for implementation and lack of awareness. With the introduction of the Universal Health Insurance Bill in Tanzania, I would advocate for inclusion of rehabilitation services and ATs in a more progressive way within the minimum benefit package as well as encourage more funding from development partners and bi-laterals to invest in data systems to monitor rehabilitation needs across the country and integrate them into national medical information systems (such as DHIS2, GoTHMIS, etc.)

Non-PWD Specific Legislation/Policies: