Twenty-six (26) undergraduate students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) underwent intensive training as part of the JKUAT Wheelchair Project, in partnership with Motivation Charity Trust (MCT).
With the training, the students now become ‘wheelchair champions’ and are the first group in the country to qualify as therapists with specialized wheelchair skills.
The training, held at the JKUAT Wheelchair Learning Centre on December 14 and 15, 2023, focused on equipping students from the BSc Physiotherapy and BSc Occupational Therapy programs in the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences with the skills to establish and manage a wheelchair center.
This model has already been successfully implemented at JKUAT and was officially launched on December 4, 2023.
Central to the training was the concept of safeguarding, emphasizing prevention, reporting, and response mechanisms to ensure the well-being of both service providers and beneficiaries. The goal is to prevent exploitation and address concerns promptly.
The students were also sensitized on various Wheelchair Service Training Packages outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
These training packages cover basic and intermediate levels for handling patients with different needs, as well as managerial and stakeholder training categories. These skills are crucial for managing a wheelchair center effectively, ensuring prompt repairs, referral screening, and user training.
The training implementation aligns with the WHO’s eight-step guidelines for prescriptive wheelchair provision, particularly in regions with limited resources. These steps include referral, assessment, prescription, funding and ordering, product preparation, fitting and adjusting, user training, and follow-up and maintenance/repairs.
During the certificate award ceremony, Mr. Peter Mbugua, CEO of MCT, commended the students for their unwavering dedication to this pioneering cause. He highlighted the significance of the user-centered approach.
“The user is at the heart of everything. This project is committed to facilitating access to assistive technology for mobility because a wheelchair opens up many opportunities, promoting inclusion —the bigger picture,” said Mr. Mbugua.
This milestone positions JKUAT as a trailblazer in addressing rehabilitation gaps in Kenya and sets a new standard for therapeutic training in the region.