Kenya Launches Rehabilitative Services And Assistive Technology Strategy 2022-2026
Nairobi (KENYA) March 2, 2023.
Kenya has taken a significant step towards improving healthcare services for people living with disabilities with the launch of the Rehabilitative Services and Assistive Technology Strategy 2022-2026, Disability Medical Assessment and Categorization Guidelines 2022, and the ATscale Project.
The event, which took place at a Nairobi Hotel on Thursday 2nd March 2023, was attended by various dignitaries and development partners, including representatives from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
During the launch, Dr. Zeinab Gura, Acting Director, Health Care Services, read a speech on behalf of Eng Peter Tum, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Medical Services, highlighting the increasing number of Kenyans living with disabilities. It is estimated that 0.9 million or 2.2% of the population have a disability, which requires extensive healthcare services that the Ministry of Health is committed to providing through the Universal Health Coverage program.
To enhance access to assistive technology and strengthen rehabilitation services, the Ministry has collaborated with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and other stakeholders to develop the first Rehabilitation Services and Assistive Technology Strategy (2021-2025).
The PS said the strategy aims to increase access to care up to the primary health care and community levels by developing infrastructure, building human resource capacity, and providing equipment needed for rehabilitation services. The strategy also envisions strengthening the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for early identification of disabilities and rehabilitation at the community level.
The Ministry has also developed Disability Medical Assessment and Categorization Guidelines to guide the appropriate and timely identification and categorization of disabilities. The guidelines address the challenges faced in the categorization of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and bring service closer to Kenyans through decentralizing the validation of disability assessment to the County Directors of Health.
The Ministry has established collaborations and projects with various partners to implement the outlined priorities, such as the establishment of the first Centre of Excellence on Assistive Technology in collaboration with the World Health Organisation. The Ministry is also collaborating with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) to implement Vision Impact Project (VIP) in selected seven counties in Kenya to support the delivery of quality eye health services.
The Ministry has also established a new partnership with ATscale, a global partnership for scaling up Assistive Technology. The ATscale project is a three-year project geared towards supporting capacity building, strengthening supply chain for assistive technology, sustainable financing, development of policy and guidelines, strengthening local capacity to produce, enhancing infrastructure, data, and systems, enhancing demand generation, and program coordination.
However, he also noted that despite the efforts made, there are significant gaps facing the provision of rehabilitative services, which the Ministry aims to prioritize through reviewing the harmonized benefit package to include the rehabilitation package, developing the list of essential assistive technology, and streamlining the training of human resources for rehabilitation services. “The Ministry is committed to providing oversight and guidance to the ATscale project to ensure its success,” he added.
The launch of the Rehabilitative Services and Assistive Technology Strategy 2022-2026, Disability Medical Assessment and Categorization Guidelines 2022, and the ATscale Project demonstrates the Ministry of Health's commitment to providing quality healthcare services to all Kenyans, including those living with disabilities.
It is expected that these initiatives will have a positive impact on the lives of Kenyans living with disabilities, and the Ministry is committed to providing oversight and guidance to ensure their success.