Original Research

Analysing disability policy in Namibia: An occupational justice perspective

Tongai F. Chichaya, Robin W.E. Joubert, Mary Ann McColl
African Journal of Disability | Vol 7 | a401 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v7i0.401 | © 2018 Tongai F. Chichaya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 June 2017 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Tongai F. Chichaya, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Robin W.E. Joubert, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Mary Ann McColl, Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, Canada; Centre for Health Services and Policy Research; Rehabilitation Therapy/Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Canada


Background: The Namibian disability policy of 1997 has not been reviewed for about 20 years, which has raised concerns with persons with disabilities and stakeholders in the fields of disability and rehabilitation. In March 2017, the government publicised its intention to review the policy. Thus, this study’s purpose was to generate evidence that can contribute to the development of a more current disability policy that will promote occupational justice.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to develop an alternative disability policy option for Namibia and to present outcomes and trade-offs using a policy analysis approach while applying the occupational justice framework to gather evidence.

Method: A qualitative research design and Bardach’s eightfold path approach to policy analysis were used. Critical disability theory provided the theoretical framework. The occupational justice framework was the conceptual framework for the study. Evidence from preceding phases of this study and appropriate literature was utilised to construct possible disability policy alternatives in Namibia, set evaluative criteria, project outcomes and confront trade-offs.

Results: Three main disability policy alternatives emerged: access policy, support policy and universal coverage policy. Access policy had the fewest trade-offs, and the support policy had the most trade-offs in the Namibian context. Access policy was projected to foster occupational participation among persons with disabilities.

Conclusion: Results have implications for selecting disability policy alternatives that promote occupational participation and justice among persons with disabilities in Namibia. Furthermore, the study has implications for advancing the practice of occupational justice in disability policy formulation.


Disability policy analysis; access policy; persons with disabilities


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