Facilitating individuals living with disability in rural Kenya
The Disability Service Programme (DSP) office and clinic is located in Opapo, a village close to the town of Homa Bay in Nyanza Province. As a community based program, the DSP clinic is only in operation on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the remaining days of the week are spent in the surrounding districts doing home visits, outreach clinics, school visits, or health education sessions. The DSP employs community health workers who help identify and liaise with persons living with disability, and subsequently organize services in each town or district. As the only non-governmental organization servicing the disabled population in the general area, the DSP is in high demand. Additionally, many services are heavily subsidized leading to great financial strain for the program. Students attending special needs schools or vocational programs are sponsored, mobility equipment such as crutches and wheelchairs are manufactured and subsidized, anti-epileptic education sessions are held where medications are also subsidized, and assessment and treatment fees are very modest.
Due to economic and financial changes, the DSP has been forced to cut staff, downgrade its activities, and cease to sponsor children’s school fees. With appropriate funds, the DSP could develop into the community presence that it set out to be. There is still much work to be done with regard to healthcare and health education, and although there are hospitals in the area, not all are able to afford the time and costs of transportation in order to seek the care they need.