19.5  Situation of disability in Ethiopia

According to available survey results from the 2006 census, of a total population in Ethiopia of more than 73 million, there are 805,535 (or 0.8 million) persons with disabilities. However, relevant government authorities, researchers, and people active in the field of disability all agree that the figures are very low compared to the prevalence of disability in neighboring countries and other developing countries. The number of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia is likely to be underestimated due to inadequate definitions or what constitutes disability and which disabilities should be included in the count. It is also likely that parents are not willing to disclose that they have a child or family member with a disability because of stigma. The actual number of people with disabilities in Ethiopia is therefore likely to be much higher.

Box 19.3 lists some of the major preventable causes of disabling impairments. Poverty is not only a cause, but also a major consequence of disability in Ethiopia. It is estimated that 95% of all persons with disabilities in the country are living in poverty. Many of these people live in rural areas, where basic services are limited and often inaccessible to persons with disabilities and their families. As a result, most persons with disabilities do not have access to services and lack the opportunities to earn a level of income to facilitate independent living. In the remainder of this study session, you will consider what you can do to tackle this problem.

Box 19.3  Major causes of impairment

  • Disease
  • Poverty
  • Wars
  • Drought
  • Famine
  • Harmful traditional practices
  • Household, work place and traffic accidents.

19.4  Myths and facts about disability

19.6  The twin- track approach