In Kenya, healthcare services remain very limited and are usually concentrated in urban centres. Government funded surgical assistance is rarely available and private healthcare is far beyond the means of the rural poor so Advantage Africa supports Kibwezi Disabled Persons' Organisation (KDPO) to fill the gaps in provision. This project enables people with disabilities, including young children, to be properly assessed by qualified medical professionals and, where appropriate, access life-changing corrective surgery or prosthetic limbs.
Many potential beneficiaries of this project have been medically neglected as children and lack knowledge about their own conditions. The first step is, therefore, to help them and their families understand their impairment and situation and inform them of appropriate services. Proper assessments are then made and consultations with medical facilities or prosthetic workshops organised.
Anyone who decides to go ahead with surgery or artificial limbs is advised and supported through the process. As local hospitals, (including Makindu, 40km from the project location) don’t have resident surgeons, visiting experts perform the operations by painstakingly arranged appointment. Disabled people living in rural locations are unfamiliar with formal health services so KDPO staff support and reassure them before and after their surgery and provide aftercare and rehabilitation therapy in their homes. Clients needing prosthetics are assisted to travel to assessment and fitting services in Nairobi.
Alex Mwendwa had his lower leg amputated after a tree felling accident. He struggled for several years thereafter to remain mobile without proper equipment or rehabilitation. Through KDPO, Advantage Africa helped Alex to travel to Nairobi to be assessed for a prosthesis. An artifical leg was made and fitted for Alex so he could walk again, regain his livelihood making charcoal and fulfil his role as husband and father with confidence and dignity. KDPO staff continue to visit Alex to ensure his prosthesis is fitting well, his friction sores are properly managed and that his family is helped to deal with their continuing challenges.
KDPO Co-ordinator Agnes Musembi (who herself uses a prosthetic leg) said:
The last group of clients that received this assistance were so happy that they sang on the bus all the way home from Nairobi!