Kakamega Governor Waives Disability Assessment Charges, Paving the Way for Accessible Healthcare

By Seliphar Machoni

People living with disabilities (PLWDs) in Kakamega now have reason to be grateful, thanks to Governor Fernandes Barasa’s administration, which has decided to waive charges for disability assessments.

A letter from Chief Officer of Medical Services David Alila to local public health facilities and medical superintendents states that PLWDs will no longer be required to pay for disability assessment services.

The letter states, “During the second Executive Committee meeting on February 13, 2024, the Cabinet approved a memorandum on waivers for disability assessment charges for individual patients.”

The county government is instructing the facilities to waive charges for disability assessment services.

PLWDs have been paying Sh 500 for assessment services in medical facilities.

These services include standardized tests that measure an individual’s performance and ability.

Beneficiaries of this decision have welcomed it, stating that it ensures fairness. Wechuli Barthez, one of the PLWD representatives, said, “We have suffered a lot as people living with disabilities in terms of accessing medication.”

In December of last year, Governor Barasa directed the health department to waive the charges to allow PLWDs in the county to access disability assessment services for free.

“I have instructed the Health executive not to charge PWDs money whenever they visit medical facilities,” said Barasa.

“We want to improve the lives of our sisters and brothers, and as a county, we have eliminated the disability assessment charges. The County Health Executive must ensure total compliance,” he added.

“If anyone demands money for disability assessment from PWDs, I have asked them to call me directly.”

The governor also directed that all county offices meet the necessary disability requirements before being approved for construction.

Barasa announced that PLWDs will be allocated a special portion of approximately 40% during the bursary issuance and that their companies will be considered for tenders in the county.

The chairperson of the PLWDs county committee, Lucy Mulombi, praised the development, noting that the assessment fee excluded many individuals.

“It was unfair to charge PWDs assessment fees when some of them can barely afford food and school fees for their children. But with this new directive, you can be sure that won’t be excluded,” Mulombi said.

“We have been paying Sh500 assessment fee in public hospitals in addition to the special identification card for PLWDs, even though we have disabilities,” she added.

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