Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) through the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences, has received a donation of 311 wheelchairs from Latter Day Saints (LDSC) based in the United States of America to boost training in the department.
The donation made on Thursday, May 11, 2023, fulfills a tripartite agreement signed in 2022 by JKUAT, LDSC, and Motivation Kenya Trust to aid in the implementation of curriculum-specific wheelchair training using World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
The resources will benefit students studying Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, and will as well be distributed at a subsidized cost to the patients after clinical assessment and fitting.
The consignment arrived as wheel chair components and will be assembled by technical staff from the College of Engineering (COETEC) who were trained during the Trainer-of-Trainers Basic Wheelchair Course program in August 2022.
This was accomplished through a collaboration between LDSC, faculty from Utah and Rocky Universities, and the JKUAT College of Health Sciences (COHES).
The lecturers and clinical instructors in the Rehabilitative services sector were trained in the assessment, prescription, fitting, evaluation and administering the best-suited wheelchairs to People Living with disabilities (PWDs).
While receiving the donation, which accommodate different sizes of wheelchairs to fit adults and children, and can navigate all terrains, the Chairman of the Department Dr. Mwangi Matheri, lauded the achievement, describing it as a “first for the region,” particularly in terms of providing affordable wheelchairs.
“JKUAT embarked on this project because we are passionate about using our expertise and resources to benefit society.
The initiative will help those who use wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility and further hone the skills of our students during practical sessions,” said Dr. Matheri, who was accompanied by Dr. Wallace Karuguti, a lecturer from the department.
The consignment also included spare parts, an important strategy to ensure wheelchair maintenance does not stall, thus affecting those who rely on wheelchairs.
The wheelchairs will also be instrumental in implementing the most recent project by the department – Wheelchair Service Model Kenya (WSMK) which aims to work towards developing a model service that will raise standards of care in national wheelchair rehabilitation services through building a skilled workforce in the country.