The Nakuru County government has put in place measures to ensure that people living with disabilities get priority in access to health care and medical supplies in the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his administration will also ensure that vulnerable groups such as street families and their caregivers receive food donations, facemasks and hand sanitisers as the country battles the spread of the disease.
Mr Kinyanjui said his administration had worked out guidelines to ensure that special needs persons who also include the mentally challenged, orphans and the elderly have access to health care at their residencies or places where they may have been quarantined.
Speaking when he donated foodstuffs to over 300 families from 24 mosques in Nakuru County, Mr Kinyanjui noted that special needs persons had borne the greatest brunt of ‘social and economic’ shocks following reduced activity occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19 disease.
The County boss noted that vulnerable persons required mainstreaming, devoid of stereotyping and prejudice adding that his administration had also considered individuals with physical and mental disabilities admitted in various hospitals within the devolved unit.
“At least 1,500 residents are registered as physically disabled or disadvantaged. If we do not prioritise their needs during the current coronavirus epidemic they will remain on virtual lockdown every day.
Vulnerable persons always find themselves in the middle of stampedes as they cannot push and shove through crowds to get a share of the food rations, save for those who have been targeted by organizations or well-wishers. This has prompted both County and National governments to direct that all donations be channeled to a centralised location,” observed Mr Kinyanjui.
Last week, the County government unveiled a new voucher system that will enable over 100,000 residents affected by adverse economic effects of Covid-19 benefit from medical and relief food supplies.
Mr Kinyanjui announced that his administration which is rolling out the programme in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross will conduct ‘in-depth’ vetting and thorough background checks before issuing the vouchers to orphans and vulnerable children, the physically challenged, the elderly and heads of households who had lost employment and income due to effects of the pandemic.
The County head said the initiative that has also brought on board the national government has put in place stringent procedures before one acquires the voucher to ensure that ‘few greedy’ individuals did not take advantage of the exercise to enrich themselves and that only deserving cases get donations that will be distributed from Kenya Red Cross Offices in Nakuru.
Part of the money raised is scheduled to be channeled to medical facilities operating in low income areas where the poor people will be given the first priority in health care provision. He pledged to regularly make public all donations and how they are spent.
The governor told the residents that it was in their best interest not to get infected as there was a possibility of health facilities getting overstretched if Covid -19 cases escalated.
He urged Kenyans to observe the rules put in place to curb the spread of the disease.
Mr Kinyanjui emphasised the need to stay at home, saying Kenyans are ignoring some of the orders issued.
The County boss said everyone, young and old, has a role to play by being in the forefront in stopping the disease spreading.
He criticized those ignoring efforts made to curb the spread such as social distancing, working from home, embracing mobile money transfers and having fewer passengers in the public service vehicles.
The governor further said that there was need for everyone to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and others close to them from risk of infection.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto