IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITIES IN KAKAMEGA COUNTY
Jul 13, 2021
With Covid-19 here with us since march 2020, persons living with disabilities in the rural parts of Kakamega County have been affected in terms of accessing basic resources, needs and services.
Most of them blame their leaders claiming that they have abandoned them leaving them to suffer especially during this period of Covid-19 where they need them the most for assistance.
The national government has tried to assist Persons living with disabilities in the little way it can by making available some funds to help cater for their needs. In other areas however, persons living with disabilities say the government both at the national and county level has neglected them and they don’t know whom to turn to for help.
According to Berthez Wechuli a former chairperson and activist on matters of Persons living with disabilities in Navakholo sub-county in Kakamega county, the national government distributed some funds in the initial stages of Covid-19 outbreak where most of them received through their phones amounts ranging from Ksh 1000 to Ksh 6000 to help cater for their needs.
Ben Wetaba from Butere sub-county says he suffers from stroke for 10 years now and life has not been easy since Covid-19 struck for the government has really sidelined them.
“I suffered stroke as a result of wrong medication and I have tried many ways to get well but it’s been impossible which means I will live with this condition forever a situation that has made it hard for me to cater for my family.” He says
Aggrey Akala whose leg was amputated due to diabetes in 2015, says life is difficult especially to people with same condition but the government both at the national and county level doesn’t care whether they exist or not, adding that he has never benefitted from funds set aside for persons living with disabilities and during this corona period, no masks or sanitizers have reached them.
“I struggle using my own means in order to follow the containment measures put in place by the government to minimize the spread of covid-19 by purchasing masks and sanitizer for the sake of myself and my family to be safe.” He says
“In order to contain the virus, mask wearing is a must but most of us cannot afford it due to high economy and there is no special treatment when we visit the hospital as it used to be before Covid-19,” says Aziza Otianya a care giver and wife to Aggrey Otianya who lives with disability. She urges the government to reach out to these special group of people and assist them especially during this period of covid-19.
Speaking in a phone call interview, Everlyne Omurai an officer from the social services department of Persons living with disabilities says that this group of people have been affected by Covid-19 pandemic but not only them, even the rest including the government in terms of funds, though there are specific cases that have been receiving some funds from the government which is a long term project that the government wishes to do for a while.
On registration she warns Persons living with disabilities about fraudsters and brokers who go around registering them in the name of the government with money that ends up in their pockets.
“I urge you as persons living with disabilities to be on the alert so that you don’t fall prey to fraudsters and brokers asking you to register and access government funds.” She says adding that the government only registers people in their offices and chief’s offices and not individuals.
Everlyne calls on Persons living with disabilities to apply for financial support like bursaries in their offices for children living with disabilities and those that have parents with the same condition.
She encourages them to apply for other funding’s of projects like Aqua farming rather than entirely depending on the disability funds from the government.
#This story is a result of support from KCA and WAN-IFRA Women in News and the views in the story are not WAN-IFRA nor KCA'S.