PLWD want free medical care and feeding programme
People Living with Disabilities in Meru County want both the national and county government to remove all medical levies imposed on them in public health facilities.
Under the Meru County Persons Living with Disability Association, the group said majority of them had either no income or earned very little to meet their medical expenses in government health facilities.
Speaking at an awareness campaign walk in Meru Town on Saturday, the Associations Chairperson Mr. Joseph Gitonga noted that PLWD constitute 15 percent of the Meru County population and the government should channel more resources towards their empowerment.
The group also appealed for ample protection during the campaign period to guard their members against harm.
They also want the government to assign them a lawyer to defend them against any forms of abuse, claiming some have been being discriminated against by their family members.
“In some families, PLWD are denied their family inheritance such as ancestral land since they lack finances or means to report the matter or seek justice,” said Gitonga.
They also want the government to introduce a feeding programme for people suffering from severe disabilities.
“We have parents whose children are severely disabled. Such people should be enrolled on the government feeding programme to alleviate their great suffering,” said Gitonga.
He added that there was need for establishment of more vocational and recreational centres for PLWD to enable them support themselves and their families.
The group has vowed to vote in political leaders who will ensure welfare of PLWDs is guaranteed.
“Be it president Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Ekuru Aukot or Joseph Nyaga it doesn’t matter as long as they express interest in supporting us when they get the top job,” noted Mr. Gitonga.
They called on the national government to channel more funds to PLWDs so as to empower them.
Meanwhile the Association has petitioned the Ministry of Environment to reconsider the decision to ban the use of polythene bags, arguing that some of their members depend on them to keep their environment clean.
“For some cases of disability polythene bags is a necessity. They should be supplied to hospitals for use by some people with certain forms of disability since the papers are essential waste disposal,” argued the Association member Ms. Purity Mwamba.
The group lauded the Meru County government for launching a SACCO for PLWD which they stated had already started benefiting their members.
By Richard Muhambe