Plan International, Homa Bay County in partnership with the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) has donated assistive devices to 36 children with disabilities to aid in mobility.
The Sh1.3 million worth devices included special seats (wheel chairs), standing aids (for children who cannot stand on their own), orthopedic shoes and boots, AFOS, elbow conformer, lumbar corset, cork up splints, back slabs, walking frame with wheels, among others.
Speaking Thursday during the donation exercise at Sero Vocational Training College, Joseph Mwita, Integrated Project Officer Plan International, said the organization partnered with APDK to provide assessment to the kids as well as assistive devices to help them access their basic rights including education through mobility.
“We have given them a number of devices as recommended by specialists some of which are for corrective purposes and others are for providing support in terms of mobility. We realised that these children are left behind and occasionally, are not supported adequately to enable them enjoy their basic rights such as education and medical services. It is because of this that we decided to intervene,” he said.
“So far, we have been able to distribute these devices to a total of 75 children in this financial year. Earlier, we had donated the devices to 39 children and today we have given out to a number of 36,” he added.
Mwita said Plan International is creating awareness targeting the community as well as the parents in a bid to change their perception towards children with disabilities.
“These interventions are directed towards changing the attitude of parents to ensure they bring the children in for assessments,” said Mwita.
Mwita stated that the programme is undertaken in three areas of Mbita, Rangwe and Asego within Homa Bay County.
He called on all stakeholders within the county including the county and national governments to work together and support these children.
Dr. Kenneth Ambuchaba, working at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, said the children are suffering from a congenital disorder known as cerebral palsy, as shown in their assessments, adding that the disorder is caused by gene mutation, fetal infection and lack of oxygen supply to the brain of the fetus.
CP causes problems with movement, balance, posture and muscle tone in children.
He reiterated that the devices provided could not fully rid the children of the disorder. “These devices cannot fully correct the disability. What we are doing is to prevent the children from developing permanent disability,” said Odhiambo.
He urged parents to take their children for therapy, adding that there are challenges that come with cerebral paralysis which they do not know how to handle.
“This is a challenge to the parents because they do not know how to deal with these children as most of them cannot talk, walk or sit independently and so they need support,” he stated.
The parents were thankful to the organization for the support saying that the devices are expensive and that they could not afford to buy on their own.
Nancy Akoth, a mother to a child with CP said it has not been easy moving from place to place with her two years old son who cannot stand nor sit without support.
She explained that she came to know of her son’s condition when he was five months old and could not sit on his own without support.
“I took him to the hospital where I came to know that he had cerebral palsy. He was later undertaken through an assessment by Plan International, and today we have received these devices which are very important to us,” she praised.