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State to reduce cost of assistive devices for PWDs in new plan

Ministry of Health Zeinab Gura during the launch of the Rehabilitative services and assistive technology strategy

The Ministry of Health seeks to increase access to appropriate rehabilitative services by Persons with disabilities at all lower-level facilities.

This is after the Ministry of Health and partners launched the 2022-2026 rehabilitative services and assistive technology strategy on Thursday.

Assistive products maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being.

Hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, spectacles, prostheses, pill organizers, and memory aids are all examples of assistive devices.

The strategy also seeks to among others subsidize the cost of commodities associated with different disabilities to increase access as well as reduce the cost of acquiring assistive devices for use by PWDs.

The 2019 Census estimated that 2.2 per cent (0.9 million Kenyans) who are five years or older have some form of disability often requiring healthcare services.

“The number of people experiencing disability is increasing due to a rise in chronic health conditions and population ageing,” Health PS Peter Tum said.

“Some health conditions associated with disability result in poor health and need extensive health care while others do not,” he added.

The ministry also launched the Disability Medical Assessment and Categorization Guidelines to address the challenges faced in the categorization of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The challenges included lack of standardized or uniform criteria of determining the presence of a disability and its categorization.

In the guidelines, the validation of disability assessment has been decentralized to the county directors of health at the county level thereby bringing service closer to Kenyans which will lead to a reduction in waiting times.

Various county disability assessment teams have already been sensitized and trained on the use of the guidelines.

“The government is reviewing the harmonized benefit package to include development of the list of essential assistive technology to be included in the supply chain and streamline the training of human resources for rehabilitation services,” the PS said.

Kenya is committed to making progress towards achieving optimal rehabilitative care for all and streaming rehabilitative service delivery at all levels of care.

However, the ministry has admitted that despite the progress, the demand for rehabilitation is still unmet due to a number of factors which include lack of available rehabilitation services outside urban areas and long waiting times.


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