PWDs call for inclusivity in fight against COVID-19

Persons Living with Disability challenges now want to be fully considered in the fight against COVID-19.

They say they have had to go through alot during this COVID-19.

Speaking in Nakuru during a launch of health report for PWDs on COVID-19,they pointed out stigma and discrimination even in the COVID-19 protocols.

Ms Caroline Wanjira faulted the protocols and containement measures which she says have no considerations for the PWDs.

According to her,the handwashing points are stationed in a position that is a challenge to the PWDs to access.

Wanjira narrates how she has had to struggle while in public transport vehicles to maintain social distance but due to her condition with the wheel chair atimes it becomes difficult more so when alighting.

She adds that for the visually impaired,it becomes difficult to ensure some of the containment measures.

Her appeal to the government to consider the PWDs in the containement measures to avert spread of COVID-19.

“The government when coming up with these containement measures ,let them have us in mind as PWDs.If they put us at risk,they are also making us more disabled” said Ms Wanjira.

Sentiments echoed by PWDs Kenya President Ambrose Lasoi.

He wants government to take action against perpetrators of gender based violence against PWDs.

The PWDs Kenya President also calling on government to address challenges facing PWDs during COVID-19.

“We want government to ensure engagement on policies,trainings for our people so that they cannot suffer anymore” he said.

Molo MP Kuria Kimani who graced the occasion also calling for the need to ensure containment measures are PWDs friendly so that they are not left out in the fight against COVID-19.

He says the MOH guidelines seem to leave out the PWDs which should not be the case.

“We cannot fight this pandemic if we discriminate the PWDs hence the government should look at such area.If we put them at risk,the lives of the caretakers” said Kimani.

This even as Nakuru county boasts of taking considerations of the PWDs.

County Director Social Services Wesley Kipng’ok says the county will continue to intensify awareness among PWDs during this COVID-19.

“As a county we have continued to engage PWDs to ensure they are not left behind in the whole process” he said.

Amref Kenya Technical advisor on matters COVID-19 Mr.Fred Bosire states that they are working in 9 urban counties(Nakuru included) to ensure PWDs are part in the fight against COVID-19.

He noted that already Amref has trained various health staff in counties.

Bosire adds that health is key in transforming lives and that is why they have been working in the 9 counties.

“Ours is to work and ensure that we have sustainable health services” he said.



CAS Shebesh assures smooth run of Covid-19 Kazi Mtaani program

The National government has assured of smooth run of the Covid-19 Kazi Mtaani national hygiene Program.

Speaking in Nakuru on Friday during a supervision and fact finding on the ongoing program, Public  Service,Youth and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh said the government is committed towards the program that will see many locals in various counties across the country benefit.

She said the exercise that is being supervised by NYS is aimed to implement hygiene measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

The program according to the CAS entails manual work in the public spaces, including markets, shopping centers among others in areas affected by floods as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shebesh adding that the program has been rolled in several counties Nakuru among them and that this is just pilot before being rolled to other counties.

“We are proud of the work ongoing. The counties such as Nakuru are a pilot and we shall be rolling out to other counties. As national government we are committed to this program” she said.

She lauded counties for the role they are playing adding that the counties are the biggest partners.

On the issue of COVID-19,the CAS called on Kenyans to ensure they take care of themselves by observing all the guidelines.

“As Kenyans we need to remember that we are worth and that we are all equal no matter the tribe or your status.I urge Kenyans to safeguard themselves before waiting for anyone else to do so. When government says wear mask, when government says sanitize and stay at home it’s not a punishment but for the betterment of all of us” she said.

The CAS who was welcomed by Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr.Erick Korir and County Commissioner Erastus Mbui was later scheduled to tour various areas that the Kazi Mtaani program is being implemented.

Senator Kihika queries delayed distribution of Covid-19 relief funds

It is unreasonable for the County Government to hold onto the Covid-19 relief funds while thousands of deserving families continue to sleep hungry.

The sentiments were shared by the Nakuru County Senator who felt that the county government of Nakuru was taking unnecessarily long to distribute food to cushion those hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posting on her Facebook page, Senator Susan Kihika wondered why seven weeks down the line, the county was yet to reach the vulnerable. A supplementally budget totalling 650 Million was passed at the County Assembly on April 8 this year.

“It has been almost two months since the Nakuru County Assembly passed the supplementary budget towards dealing with Covid-19,” wrote the senator.

“Unfortunately, seven weeks later, the county government is still holding onto the funds,” she added.

In the supplementary budget, 20 million was set aside as an emergency kitty while 30 million went to the Governor’s office. Another 250 million was to be shared between the 55 wards. Some wards were to get 3.7 million each while the rest would get 5.2 million. A committee to identify the most deserving and oversee the distribution was formed in each ward. However, even the ward committees have been in the dark as to the progress of the exercise.

“The money was to be used to cushion the most vulnerable in these difficult times. The ward committees did their part identifying the intended beneficiaries and am aware they have since been waiting to ensure the help gets to the intended families,” said the senator expressing the frustration of the committee members.

“For whatever reason, it is unreasonable and inhuman to hold onto such funds when thousands of families continue to sleep hungry,” the Senator said.

Governor jolted into action on Covid-19 relief

Interesting, the office of the governor has since moved with speed to make efforts towards rectifying the same. Almost immediately after the Senator’s post, the county released a video of the governor apparently launching relief food. He said the food was to be shared among 2000 families in Menengai East Ward in Nakuru East Ward. It was not clear whether it was from the Governor’s 30 million relief kitty or from the 250 million ward kitty.

At the passing of the supplementary budget, the MCAs had suggested for the procurement of the relief food to be done at the ward level. This would not only have greatly empowered the local communities but would also have hugely eased the logistics of getting the food to the beneficiaries.

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