Purpose: Disability cuts across every society and all spheres of life. For an inclusive society, it is important to understand people’s perceptions about persons with disabilities. However, there seems to be limited information, particularly about the perceptions of students who are the generation of future policy-makers. This study examines the perceptions of students in the University of Yaoundé II about persons with disabilities in Cameroon.
Methods: A cross sectional study design using quantitative methods was employed with a sample of students at the University of Yaoundé II. A questionnaire was used to gather information from 500 students selected by simple random sampling. The data analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics at 95% CI.
Results: Among the participants, 51.8% were males, 89.2% were single and the average age was 24.9 years. Findings showed that 69.8% did not know about the actual population of persons with disabilities in Cameroon, though 14.6% had relatives with disabilities. None of the students perceived disability as a contagious condition, and 79.8% agreed that education had influenced their perceptions about persons with disabilities. Gender and education level had significant relationship with changes in perception (OR=1.8; p=0.01 and OR=1.91; p=0.04). However, 13.5% were unwilling to work with a person with disability in the future.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that issues of disability have not been taken into consideration in Cameroon. Therefore, there is the need for education and sensitisation of the general population towards disability. Additionally, policy- makers should factor persons with disabilities into national strategic plans, in order to ensure an inclusive society.