An Analysis of Policy Implementation: A Case of Children With Developmental Disabilities in Zambia

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Background. In Zambia, individuals with disabilities and their families rely heavily on governmental services, policies, and programs. Individuals with disabilities in Zambia have limited access to services that could help them reach their full potential. Consequently, several important policies with good intentions are adopted but not successfully implemented. The Zambian government formulated the National Policy on Disability to address disability issues and empower individuals with disabilities. Purpose. The reason for this study was to explore disability policy implementation by analyzing cases of children with developmental disabilities through the lens of service providers and policymakers. This qualitative study aimed to examine the Zambian disability policy implementation and evaluate its outcomes. Methods. Policy implementation processes were evaluated using the policy streams theoretical framework. Semistructured interviews were utilized to draw the perceptions of parents and guardians of children with developmental disabilities, policymakers, and service providers. Data were analyzed using NVivo, a qualitative data analysis computer program, to discover the emerging themes. Results. The national policy on disability has negatively affected the quality of services for children with developmental disabilities in Zambia. The findings reveal that although the policy was well formulated, it failed in its implementation because of gaps in service provision and access to services. Conclusion. The results of this study indicate areas of improvement for policy implementation, such as ensuring accessibility of services, community sensitization to promote awareness, political will, and capacity. Collaboration among the three policy groups also emerged as a key component of policy implementation success. When the three policy streams come together and a window of opportunity appears, there is a better chance that the policy would be successfully implemented.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Public Policy