The number of persons living with disabilities has increased from 42 932 in 1991, to 85 567 in 2001 and 98 413 in 2011.
This was revealed in the recent Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) Disability Report that was launched on Tuesday.
For the first time the NSA has released an in-depth report on persons with disabilities, using data from the 2011 Population and Housing Census.
According to the report there were more females at 51 125 than males at 48 288 living with disabilities.
Of the 98 413 persons with disabilities, 18 090 had physical impairment and 16 189 had visual impairment.
With regard to the marital status of the people living with disabilities the report says 47 percent of the population aged between 15 years and above were never married.
According to the report, the proportion of persons with disabilities who were in a consensual union has increased from 6.2 percent in 2001 to 10.3 percent in 2011.
The report also shows that 62.4 percent of households of persons with disabilities had no toilet facilities. This situation is more prevalent in rural areas with 78.9 percent, compared to urban areas with 25.6 percent.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs, Alexia! Manombe-Ncube, commended NSA for the report saying it is very rich with important statistics that can be used at national and international level in assisting the design of national development programmes aimed at improving the livelihood of persons with disabilities.
She said people with disabilities are productive members of the society but a lack of detailed statistics on disability has made it difficult for the government to plan and implement designed programmes aimed at improving the welfare of people with disabilities.
“This report provides statistics on disabilities for evidence-based planning and decision-making processes aimed at improving the livelihood of persons with disabilities,” she said.
Furthermore, Manombe-Ncube says sanitation is one of the critical aspects of public health.
“Improved sanitation contributes enormously to good health and well-being, especially for persons with disabilities,” she said, adding that it also helps create physical environments that enhance safety, dignity and confidence as these are important to persons with disabilities who are often at risk of being neglected in society.
The deputy minister also appealed to organisations to carry out independent studies on persons with disabilities, and not necessarily rely on census data.
“Without an informed data collection strategy, it will be difficult to make informed decisions. The agency and other stakeholders like UNAM + NUST need to work together in gathering the relevant information needed for creating data cohorts,” she said.