In acknowledging the challenges faced by visually impaired people in obtaining healthcare, HealthX Africa, in partnership with AccelerateUHC and the Kenya Union of the Blind, has offered a comprehensive healthcare support to its members of the Kirinyaga Branch who were utilising HealthX Africa’s telehealth services .
Accessing healthcare poses significant challenges for Kenyans who live with disabilities.
According to the 2019 census, 2.2% of Kenyans are disabled, with mobility impairments accounting for 28.6% of this population.
Impairments related to vision, hearing, and communication disproportionately affect women (57.5%) and people living in rural areas (80%).
Kenya has put in place strong legislative frameworks to address health disparities, but it is still difficult to turn these frameworks into workable solutions.
Remarkably, one in two disabled people do not have access to healthcare, which results in a disease burden that is almost 10% higher than that of the general population.
The Kenya Union for the Blind recently conducted a needs assessment that gave life to these statistics.
It was found that the Kirinyaga Branch’s members face mobility obstacles, which raises the cost of logistics to access healthcare services.
“For Kenya to achieve universal health coverage, we must cater to individuals that have traditionally been excluded from the healthcare landscape,” HealthX Africa’s CEO, Roy Bore, said. “Using digital innovations like telehealth will allow us to be a step closer to making inclusive healthcare a reality.”
Recognising the transformative potential of telehealth in achieving universal health coverage, HealthX has committed to providing telehealth services to this community in collaboration with accelerateUHC, a project of RaHa Solutions, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA).
The importance of leveraging technology to create an inclusive and equitable healthcare system is emphasised by HealthX Africa.
Telemedicine has been shown to reduce costs, improve access to providers, and reduce barriers such as transportation costs, particularly during pandemics.
Under this arrangement, members of the Kenya Union of the Blind, Kirinyaga Branch, will have access to full telehealth services, including a toll-free number for unlimited virtual doctor consultations, nutrition counselling, and counselling psychology.
In addition, the Kirinyaga county government has promised to support individuals with disabilities, and governor H.E. Anne Waiguru has vowed to support diversity, equity, and inclusivity in order to guarantee that no segment of society is left behind.
“It is our priority to ensure that universal health coverage is a reality for all Kenyans, and this project is the first step in creating an inclusive healthcare system,” said AccelerateUHC’s liaison person, Kadu Titi.
HealthX Africa works with and learns from organisations that represent and advocate for the health and rights of people with disabilities, as well as adapting and improving HealthX telemedicine systems and services to meet the needs and preferences of Kenyans with various disabilities.