President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated Government’s commitment to the mainstreaming of disability in the country’s development agenda saying Kenyans living with disabilities will be supported to participate fully in nation-building.
As part of progressive disability mainstreaming efforts, the President said his administration has increasingly been appointing persons living with disabilities to key positions in Government.
“…I had the privilege as President to appoint two persons living with disabilities to our court of appeal, our second highest court; and many more across the length and breadth of our public service.
“As President, I have appointed persons living with disabilities as principal secretaries, holders of constitutional offices, members of statutory commissions, and in other senior positions in Government,” he said.
The President, who today at KICC in Nairobi City County where he led the country in marking this year’s United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), noted that people living with disabilities were increasingly taking up leading roles in many spheres including politics.
“Indeed, across our political spectrum, political parties have made deliberate efforts to appoint persons living with disabilities to key positions, in addition to prioritizing their nomination for elective contests,” the President said.
To ensure that the health rights of persons living with disabilities are safeguarded in the ongoing roll out of the universal health coverage programme, the President directed the health ministry to ensure rehabilitation services are part of the offering.
In addition, the Head of State tasked the ministries of health and education to grow the number of rehabilitation professionals in line with the ongoing decentralization of the services to all levels of the country’s health care delivery system.
“I also direct the ministry of health and the ministry of education to ensure progressive increase of the human resource for rehabilitation at both national and county levels; and to offer support to institutions of higher learning to develop capacity for training of rehabilitation personnel,” the President said.
At the same time, the President lauded Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for its comprehensive training programme for rehabilitation personnel saying he was impressed by the growing number of students taking up courses at the institution.
He said the Government through JKUAT had set aside 10 acres of land on which plans were underway to set up Africa’s first national centre of excellence in assistive technology.
“Once established, the national centre of excellence in assistive technology will provide much needed training, research and innovation, and manufacture and distribution of assistive technologies,” the President said.
In her speech, Public Service CS Margaret Kobia thanked local and international partners for supporting disability inclusion programs in the country saying their support was assisting the Government to safeguard the rights and welfare of persons living with disabilities.
UNFPA Kenya Country Representative Adehola Olajide applauded the President for elevating persons living with disabilities to key positions in Government saying the appointments were helping advance the disability agenda.
Nairobi City County Governor Anne Kananu and the Chairperson of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) Peter Muchiri also spoke at the event that was attended by several senior Government officials led by Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua.