Children with complex disabilities in Kenya often face challenges accessing sensory screening and early intervention services despite government efforts to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare.
How we are helping
The project will focus on ensuring sustained and equitable access to sensory screening and early intervention services for CWCD is included in development plans for Garissa and Kwale counties using a combination of targeted advocacy and beneficiary empowerment.
About the project
Approximately 0.6% of children aged 3-21 years in Kenya have complex disabilities such as deafblindness or other multiple disabilities. Early childhood developmental outcomes can be improved for children with complex disabilities (CWCD) through sensory screening and early intervention services however these vulnerable groups often face challenges accessing relevant health services.
Kenya is committed to providing ‘health services needed by persons with disabilities, including early identification and intervention’ as part of its obligations to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Kenya, health service provision is a devolved function of the county governments, and the constitution provides for public participation in health planning and budget processes. County governments are currently developing their five-year County Integrated Development Plans.
This project complements an ongoing Sense International Kenya project which is strengthening capacity of community health systems, providing sensory screening to identify CWCD and generating evidence on the screening and early intervention model. This new project aims to achieve sustained and equitable access to sensory screening and early intervention for CWCD through inclusion in County Government Development Plans and health systems in Garissa and Kwale counties.
It will do this by:
- Documenting and packaging information about screening services and early intervention model in accessible formats.
- Raising awareness of the screening services model and its rights-based focus with county health stakeholders, civil society organisations, community groups, and health and gender rights advocate groups.
- Producing advocacy briefs to influence the inclusion of the model into five-year County Integrated Development Plans and integration into associated health delivery systems.
- Empowering parents’ groups, organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and other community-based rights and gender groups to self-advocate for their health rights, enabling them to engage with county governments for inclusion in health plans and decision-making structures.
- Creating a citizen-led social media platform for individuals to share and discuss their health issues and concerns.
As a result of the project, it is expected that there will be an increased understanding of the sensory screening and early intervention model; that the services are included in county health plans and integrated into routine work of community healthcare workers; and that parents’ groups, disability organisations and networks are empowered to demand their health rights and monitor implementation of plans.
Sense International Kenya (SI-K) provides health, education, livelihoods support and promote the rights of people with complex disabilities in Kenya. SI-K take a rights-based approach to work, recognising that people with complex disabilities have a right to live in a society that is fully inclusive and to live, learn and thrive. SI-K have local expertise supported by international best practice on complex disability from Sense International (UK) and Sense UK. Local experience over the last 15 years has enabled SI-K to develop strong working partnerships and relationships with stakeholders from government ministries, county governments, health professionals and local communities.
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