Working together to improve health care services in Siaya County
On May 7, 2015, in the lakeside town of Siaya that boarders the shores of Lake Victoria on the western side of the country, CBM was pleased to join its partner, the Association of the Physically Disabled Kenya (APDK), alongside the Ministry of Health and the County Government of Siaya, in the official opening of the Tumaini (Hope) Rehabilitation Centre, and House of Prosthetic Engineering.
The opening of the center is as a result of a collaborative health and social investment between CBM, the Roechling Foundation, APDK, Ministry of Health and the County government of Siaya. Tumaini Center boasts of a fully-fledged orthopedic workshop, occupational therapy unit and physiotherapy department, all of which will provide accessible, affordable and comprehensive quality rehabilitation services to men and women, boys and girls with disabilities in Siaya County. Ideally, the center will aim to complement the Siaya County Hospital public service mandate, by easing referrals and consequently decongesting the health centers in the adjacent Kisumu and Busia towns.
The journey of hope
Construction of the center commenced in 2013 with a EURO 430,000 (approximately 45 million Kenyan shillings) funding commitment from our donor, the Roechling Foundation. Incidentally, this is also the first funded project of its kind in Africa by the foundation.
In her opening remarks, the CBM East Africa Regional Director, Kirstin Bostelmann, noted that the opening of the center was not only timely in addressing the evolving health needs of the communities, but a model facility that will benchmark specialized health care service delivery within the county.
“This is the first fully standalone accessible rehabilitation facility that ensures that any person with disability can walk or wheel themselves into the center without encountering the physical barriers commonly witnessed in other public health facilities. The center will also bring services closer to needful communities thereby eliminating the inconvenience of traveling long distances for quality and affordable comprehensive rehabilitation services,” she said.
The core services that the public can expect at Tumaini Centre will include clubfoot management, prosthesis fabrication and other orthopedic appliances, and a fully equipped gymnasium for therapy services.
APDK Patron and former Vice President, Hon. Dr. Moody Awori, was grateful to CBM for steering this unique development partnership that will scale up the capacities of public health institutions to better serve persons with disabilities and their families. “I cannot thank CBM enough for finding a donor, the Roechling Foundation, who in addition to the construction, gave funds for the purchase of a fully equipped vehicle for medical outreaches in the administration of the APDK Siaya project,” he declared. “This will indeed bring services closer to the people,” he added.
Health care services in Siaya County
- Siaya County covers five (5) constituencies of Alego-Usonga, Bondo, Gem, Rarieda and Ugenya, and boarders four (4) counties – Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga and Kisumu.
- According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census Report, Siaya County recorded a population of 839,420 people. Of this total population, over 70,000 are persons with some form of disability, of whom 24,000 (approximately 34%) are living with some form of physical disability.
- The county has only two (2) major hospitals (Siaya and Bondo), 3 sub-district/county hospitals, 83 dispensaries, 26 health centers and 10 clinics. The capacities of these public health institutions to serve the entire resident population is indeed overstretched.
- Siaya County Hospital has been operating as a satellite station with APDK to provide rehabilitation services (through mobile outreach and static sites) since 2008.
The spirit of universal access to health
In the same breath, the Chief Guest, Francis Musyimi, Secretary of Administration at the Ministry of Health, was certain to applaud the spirit of the collaboration between CBM, APDK and, the County and National Governments to improve rehabilitation services in Siaya County. “This cooperation is in the spirit of the Constitution of Kenya as well as the Public-Private Partnership Act that compels the two governments to work together with other non-governmental organizations in bringing development closer to the people,” he asserted.
As part of the ongoing public-private partnerships, the Ministry of Health has in the past supported APDK rehabilitation centers by availing over 200 technical staff to manage health service delivery in the centers. Tumaini Center will also receive similar support from the two governments by ensuring all staffing needs are adequately provided to sustain the operations at the facility.
“The House of Prosthetic Engineering will now act as a one stop center in availing the much needed prosthetic limps to amputees in the county therefore preventing the previous demanding journey to Kisumu and Nairobi for specialized assistance,” he added.
The 2010 Constitution of Kenya, alongside the Kenya Health Policy 2012-2030, provide legal and policy frameworks that seek to ensure every person receives the highest attainable standard of health care and makes special mention for specific groups such as children and persons living with disabilities.
CBM believes that all men and women, girls and boys with disability have a right to enjoy the fruits of their citizenship, and as such, they should be deliberately included when planning for provision of health services in all contexts.