Original Research

Review of policy and legislative framework for disability services in Namibia

Tonderai W. Shumba, Indres Moodley
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 74, No 1 | a399 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v74i1.399 | © 2018 Tonderai W. Shumba, Indres Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 June 2017 | Published: 27 March 2018

About the author(s)

Tonderai W. Shumba, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Indres Moodley, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: The Namibian policies and legislative framework were reviewed to determine the extent to which the needs of persons with disabilities were met and aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Further, the disability legislative framework of Namibia is compared with that of other southern African countries.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of policy and legal framework which addresses the needs and rights of persons with disabilities in Namibia from 1990 to 2016. A qualitative approach employing a case study design was used. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of the policies and legislation for alignment with the UNCRPD and how Namibia compares with other southern African countries is discussed.
Results: Four policies, one piece of legislation and one international instrument were identified as directly related to disability. Community-based rehabilitation was adopted as the main strategy for rehabilitation. Alignment of the policy and legal framework with the UNCRPD was found to be minimal. Furthermore, most of the legislation in southern Africa was formulated before the existence of the UNCRPD in 2006.
Conclusion: Although much progress has been made in meeting the needs of persons with disabilities, key implementation issues to be addressed include central coordination, overlapping strategies, disability models and gender differences. There is a need for the policy and legal framework of Namibia and other southern African countries to be more responsive to the human rights needs of persons with disabilities.
Clinical implications: The study offers insights in reviewing disability policy and legal frameworks in southern Africa for influencing disability service delivery. Future studies can investigate the progress of implementation of disability policy and legal framework from the perspectives of implementers and recipients of services.


policy; legislation; Namibia; disability; review


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