The Department of Rehabilitative Sciences at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in partnership with the Ministry of Health Kenya (MoH), Motivation Kenya Trust, and AIC Child Care Centre, Kajiado, have embarked on a two-year wheelchair service project aimed at mitigating some of the challenges encountered by wheelchair users in the country.
This will be achieved through developing a skilled workforce (comprising both artisans and university graduates), infrastructure and services to increase access to care up to primary health care and community levels.
The project dubbed: Wheelchair Service Model Kenya (WSMK), aims to work towards developing a model service that will raise standards of care in National wheelchair rehabilitation services through improved identification, referral, assessment, fitting, follow-up, and mentorship to influence government investment.
This will ensure artisans involved in wheelchair repair and maintenance receive adequate training at the community level, assisting in the improvement of the community referral system and allowing wheelchair users to inform and influence their communities.
Wheelchair maintenance can reduce breakdowns and related consequences, as well as costs for repairs and replacement. This calls for regular inspection of all of the components on the wheelchair to make sure they work right, an endeavor that will be a key focus of this project.
This process, as well as the lessons learned, will be documented throughout the project cycle to aid in its replication around the world.
The project, led by the Chairman of the Department, Dr Mwangi Matheri is expected to benefit JKUAT students studying rehabilitative sciences by making it possible for them to incorporate wheelchair service provision into their practice.
Three JKUAT fourth-year physiotherapy students are in Kajiado, one of the three counties involved in the project, along with Nairobi Metropolitan and Baringo.
During the first workshop of the project held on May 3, 2023, the Head of Rehabilitation at the MoH, Mr. Alex Kisyanga, said, the government is committed to support the project as its objectives are in line with MoH ‘s Rehabilitative Services Strategy 2022 – 2025.
He also stated that in addition to these efforts, there is a need to educate road users in order to prevent accidents that cause disabilities on Kenyan roads.
“Currently, the orthopedic bed occupancy is at 90 percent capacity which is not satisfied by the fewer wheelchairs, thus the need for this project. local solutions are necessary to mitigate the challenges associated with wheelchairs and therefore this project will address some of these challenges,” said Mr. Kisyanga.