349,000 Kenyans registered as PWDs

NAIROBI, Kenya, 23 March 2017 – The Ministry of Health and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities have registered close to 350,000 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.

The Chief Physiotherapist, Mr. Titus Kilika, has confirmed that the Ministry has facilitated 349,000 PWDs to be registered enabling them to get free access to various government services.

More than 50 percent of those registered have physical disabilities, 16.9 percent have mental disabilities, 10.02 percent have visual disabilities and 7.03 percent are deaf and dumb, Mr. Kilika said.

Kiliku also pointed out that over five percent of the registered PWDs have hearing disabilities, 4.64 percent have epilepsy, 1.62 percent has cerebral palsy; 0.89 percent autism, 0.551 percent has albinism and 0.517 percent are deaf but can talk.

“Kenya is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and it is within vision 2030 that the government provides Universal Health Coverage to everyone including PWDs. This means that we are committed to improving the lives of these individuals in the society,” he added

Mr. Kilika further revealed that the Ministry has helped 9,889 PWDs to get tax exemption and 693 have been allowed to purchase duty free vehicles. Notwithstanding, 46,414 households have been enrolled on the government’s monthly cash transfer programme for person with severe disability and others are receiving free medical insurance through the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

The Government is also providing sunscreen lotions and lip balms free in 190 public hospitals to cater for persons with albinism and has enhanced access to emergency and specialized services such as surgery, reproductive health, maternal health, ENT, ophthalmology, neurosurgery and physiotherapy for PWDs. So far 500 PWD have received financial support to expand their businesses.

The Chief Physiotherapist commended the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Beyond Zero Initiative for providing motorized wheelchairs to six university students. In addition, 10,292 PWDs have received assorted assisting devices from the Government and 2,000 PWD learners have received education support.

“The most severe disability ever recorded is attitude and the misconception by the PWDs that the government is not concerned with their welfare. However the government has been creating conducive environment and opportunities for PWD at all levels of service delivery,” Mr.Kilika stated.

Before one is registered as a PWD, he or she must first be assessed in either a level four or level five hospitals. A disability medical assessment report is then forwarded to the Ministry of Health oversight committee consisting of five doctors and four physiotherapists for evaluation before forwarding recommendations to the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.

Once an individual is registered as a person with disability, he or she can apply for benefits such as tax exemption; claim tax relief from treatment received in hospital and can also import vehicles duty free. Their tax relief applications must however be reviewed by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities before it is forwarded to the Kenya Revenue Authority.