County Wheelchair Service Provision Managers Trained

Dr. Reuben Thuo Principal COHES presents Dr Mwangi Matheri with a certificate in wheelchair management

Researchers from the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences and Managers in the health sector from different counties in Kenya converged at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for the World Health Organization (W.H.O) Wheelchair Service Training Package for Managers (WSTPm) organized in partnership with Motivation Charity Trust (MCT).

The training running under the theme: Person-centred care on wheelchair rehabilitation services in Kenya (Raising Standards of care and improving quality of life and inclusion) provided an overview of the rehabilitation/wheelchair service manager’s role in engaging people and leading the implementation of the eight steps of wheelchair service delivery and issues related to it.

These include the human and physical resources required to provide a wheelchair service, including planning, organizing, staffing, directing, costing/funding, and monitoring and evaluation. Most recently, empowerment has been added as a crucial step that helps patients integrate back into the community.

According to Mr. Charles Kanyi, Regional service development coordinator at MCT, the training was aimed at helping the managers, lead in change management and better plan wheelchair provision, increase the quality of wheelchair service delivery, improve staff retention. Other objectives were to increase the number of users who receive a wheelchair that meets their needs, and enhance the sustainability of wheelchair provision.

The interactive forum saw directors of institutions from Ministry of Health Baringo, Kajiado and Laikipia Counties, Meru North Disability Community Centre, A.I.C Litein and Kajiado, among others, engage in important conversations touching on innovation, product development, and research that will transform service delivery in rehabilitating persons with disability.

Catherine Waiyego, Project Coordinator for the Motivation Peer Trainers, who became paralyzed due to transverse myelitis recounted how the prescription of the wrong wheelchair and lack of information in her early diagnosis led to her developing pressure sores and subsequently, her life ground to a halt.

However, an appropriate wheelchair enabled her to regain her independence, start a business, and raise a family. She now trains other wheelchair users to follow in her steps of resilience and fulfilment

During the closing ceremony. Dr. Reuben Thuo, Principal College of Health Sciences at JKUAT, appreciated the collaboration with Motivation Charity Trust for facilitating the training.

“The wheelchair manufacturing project is a new concept, and we are optimistic that it will grow, especially since WHO has chosen JKUAT to host the Centre of Excellence, where some of the devices to be produced will be wheelchairs. Please form a caucus group to share experiences, as well as provisions with other managers to support this initiative. You can also advocate for the inclusion of assistive device-related items in the NHIF, as it evolves into more comprehensive health services. Ensure that this issue is on the legislative agenda.”

JKUAT Team represented by L-R: Eudia Kemei, Claudius Chepkemoi and Dr. Wilkins engage with Directors from different counties at the Wheelchair Training for Managers

Dr. Thuo also urged the participants to share impact stories on the wheelchairs on platforms such as Maarifa Centre, a product of the Council of Governors (CoG), launched in March 2017 as a hub for Sharing Kenya’s Devolution Solutions with the objective of learning and promotion of best practice within counties.

Kenya, like many other developing nations, faces significant challenges in addressing the mobility needs of its disabled population. An estimated 10% of Kenya’s population lives with some form of disability, and many of them require wheelchairs to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

It is expected that such training sessions will address the long-term sustainability of wheelchair service provision by teaching managers how to manage resources efficiently, establish partnerships, and secure funding for sustainable programs.

The training was held from September 12 – 14, 2023 at the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (SAJOREC), JKUAT.

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