Community based rehabilitation in Zimbabwe

The community based rehabilitation programme in Zimbabwe aimed to empower clients, their families and the community to deal with disability and the problems it generates, while providing support from health systems. It began with social mobilization and awareness raising, in order to make communities and services sensitive to the issues to be addressed. Community based workers were trained, as were family and community members. Thereafter a rapid assessment of the status of disability and the situation of disabled persons was conducted through community workers who were selected by the community. Activities were then planned to meet the needs identified. The problems confronted by the programme included a lack of knowledge, cultural barriers, community expectations, poverty, pressure from a wide range of other social problems, health worker attitudes and centralized health systems. The programme has used the cycles of awareness building, needs assessment and action to incorporate participation into early identification and referal of disability, and in managing the development issues in disability through community based centres and activities. Evaluation of the programme indicates its effectiveness in dealing with the social problems of disability, an increased community control over disability related issues, a greater coverage of services and some degree of sustainability, provided necessary external inputs are also sustained.

Source: Myezwa and Mkumbuzi, 2000


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