Governor Barasa waives disability assessment fees for PLWDs

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa during a previous event. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) have a reason to smile following the decision by Kakaemga Governor Fernandes Barasa’s administration to waive disability assessment charges.

In a letter addressed to local public health facilities and medical superintendents by the Chief Officer of Medical Services David Alila, the county government indicated that PWDs will no longer be required to pay for disability assessment services.

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

“This is, therefore, to inform you to adhere to the above resolutions by waiving charges on disability assessment for individual patients in your facilities.”

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

The services include standardised tests, which measure the performance and ability of an individual.

Beneficiaries have welcomed the move saying it guarantees fairness. “We have suffered a lot as people living with disabilities in terms of accessing medication,” said Wechuli Barthez, one of the PLWDs representatives.

In December last year, Governor Barasa directed the health department to waive the charges to allow persons with disabilities 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 make the lives of our sisters and brothers better and as a county, we have done away with the disability assessment and the County Health Executive must ensure there is total compliance,” he added.

"I have asked PWDs to call me directly if anyone demands money for disability assessment from them.”

The governor also directed that all county offices be approved for construction after they have met requisite disability requirements.

Barasa announced that PLWDs will be allocated a special kitty of about 40 per cent during the issuance of bursary and their companies to be considered during the award of tenders in the county.

The PLWDs county committee chairperson Lucy Mulombi hailed the development saying the fee excluded a lot of individuals.

“It was unfair to charge PWDs assessment fees yet some of them can barely afford food and school fees for their children. But with this new directive, you can be sure that none of us will be excluded,” Mulombi said.

"We have been paying Sh500 assessment fee in public hospitals on top of the special identification card for PLWD, yet we have disabilities,” she added.

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