Breaking Barriers to Create an Inclusive Healthcare System for All
In Kenya, the healthcare system faces a persistent challenge: the exclusion of people living with disabilities. Healthcare is a fundamental human right, but it remains a formidable hurdle for this marginalized group. Data from the 2019 census indicated that 2.2% of Kenyans live with disabilities. According to the Kenya Economic Report published in 2020, mobility disabilities make up 28.6% of this group, followed by visual (24.8%), hearing (11.4%), and communication-related impairments (8%). Shockingly, 57.5% of these individuals are women, and 80% reside in rural areas. People living with disabilities encounter substantial barriers in accessing healthcare, with one in two unable to do so. Additionally, the disease burden among this group is nearly 10% higher than the general population.
Kenya’s government has established robust policy frameworks to address these disparities in health equity. The healthcare community must implement these policies to create a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system. Telehealth and digital innovations offer a promising avenue. Locally, through our telemedicine facilities, we have reduced healthcare costs, transportation expenses, and enhanced medication and access to healthcare providers. We ensure that every Kenyan can access a doctor at any time of the day regardless of where they are. Our services allow medical consultations, mental health counseling, and even sign language-interpreted health consultations via video, SMS reminders, and automated home deliveries of medications and lab tests, benefiting patients and their caregivers.
The journey towards an inclusive, accessible, and quality healthcare system for Kenyans with disabilities is demanding but essential. It requires breaking down barriers that hinder access to healthcare for various communities. Embracing technological advancements in healthcare is a critical step towards creating a disability-inclusive healthcare system. By leveraging technology and emphasizing equity, we can progress towards a more accessible and compassionate healthcare landscape for all Kenyans, fulfilling the promise of Universal Health Care.