By DC/PR and GPS

Understanding disability may help end stigma against affected patients in Nyandarua, Her Excellency First Lady (Amb.) Ann Kimemia has said.

Speaking during a free orthopedic camp at the J.M Kariuki Memorial County Referral Hospital in Ol’Kalou, the First Lady assured County residents of His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia’s commitment to demystify diseases facing vulnerable segments of Nyandarua’s population.

“Parents should not hide children with physical challenges at home because we have remedial measures,” she said, while thanking all who had brought theirs for screening and treatment.

Today’s camp, targeting children aged below 18 years, provided care for 120 patients suffering from such orthopedic conditions as clubfoot, burn contractures, osteomyelitis and other acquired or congenital conditions.

It was carried out in conjunction with doctors from the AIC-CURE International Hospital in Kijabe, Africa’s first orthopedic pediatric teaching hospital for children with disabilities.

The hospital conducts mobile clinics to identify children in remote areas who can be treated in Kijabe and to provide follow-up care for those who have received surgery.

Through the interaction of Nyandarua’s healthcare professionals with CURE Kenya and other partners, the First Lady assured residents that Governor Kimemia is working to improve the County’s overall capacity to treat children born and living with disability.

The County Government has recruited a physiotherapist each for J.M Kariuki Memorial County Referral Hospital and Njabini Health Center, in addition to an occupational therapist and two orthopedic trauma clinical officers, also at J.M Kariuki Memorial County Referral Hospital.

Further, the Governor has acquired physiotherapy and orthopedic equipment worth over KShs. 7 million.

Camps, including tomorrow’s at Njabini Health Center and others planned countywide, are therefore expected to enhance the Governor’s agenda for universal healthcare by bringing vital health services closer to residents.

“This is important, because the number of people living with disabilities will continue growing as a result of population increase, aging, and medical advances that preserve and prolong life,” said the First Lady.

According to the 2009 census, Nyandarua has over 16,000 PLWDs.

Out of these, 5,303 have physical disabilities.

The First Lady, who is matron of PLWDs in Nyandarua, has been a champion for a wide range of causes, including healthcare for the aged, women, orphans and other vulnerable children.

For instance, today’s patients also received food donations from the Department of Education, Culture and the Arts.

Accompanying the First Lady were County Executive Committee Members Hon. (Dr.) John Mungai (Health Services) and Hon. Ann Gathigia (Youth, Sports, Gender and Social Services), alongside Chief Officers Mr. Nelson Kimilu (Health Services), Mr. Isaac Wanjiru (Youth, Sports, Gender and Social Services) and Ms. Sarah Waithera (Education, Culture and the Arts), among other senior County Government officials.

The AIC-CURE team was led by its medical director, Dr. Joseph Theuri.