Empowering Communities: Assessment for Children with Disabilities in Githunguri, Kiambu County

Empowering Communities: Assessment for Children with Disabilities in Githunguri, Kiambu County

“A Kiambu County where all children live safely, happily and sustainably in families and communities that serve their best interests”

On November 15th, 2023, a pivotal event unfolded in Githunguri, Kiambu County, representing a collective effort by Divine Mercy Children’s Home, supported by CCI’s and the Ngewa Community. The event aimed to address and support children with disabilities, led by Christine Kihara from Divine Mercy Children’s Home, alongside representatives Alice Wangui of WezaCare and Rakel Zawadi coordinating members of CFFK, WezaCare, and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities represented by Ivy Mwema. Esteemed medical specialists, including Dr. Jane Ngamau, an occupational therapist, Dr. Agnes Gichuhi, a psychiatrist clinical officer, and Dr. Wainaina, a physiotherapist, were also present, lending their expertise.

The event centered around highlighting the critical importance of disability assessments, medical care, and therapy for children facing diverse disabilities. New disability guidelines were introduced, focusing on mental, physical, and hearing challenges, especially for progressive illnesses. Attendees were encouraged to spread the word, ensuring other parents bring their children for such assessments.

Dr. Jane Ngamau emphasized the significance of submitting children’s data for future assistance, identifying specific disabilities, and educating parents on signs to observe before childbirth. She stressed the importance of seeking medical care early in pregnancy, avoiding over-the-counter medications without professional guidance, and also advised mothers on the importance of focusing on maintaining proper nutrition and supplements provided by the government and going for checkups and scans for unborn babies during pregnancy.


Guidance for Parents and the Community

Dr. Ngamau also sensitized parents on various aspects, including disability awareness for women, obtaining necessary information and supplements from hospitals, and adhering to prescribed medications and clinics. They highlighted the significance of identifying signs of disability early, encouraging consistent medical visits and diligence in caring for children.

Promoting Acceptance and Support

The event’s tone shifted to emphasizing the importance of joining groups for parents and individuals with disabilities. Irene, the DSP representative, highlighted the value of appreciating children with disabilities, fostering a sense of community, and plans for a day care center in Kiambu. The call to avoid hiding children and seek support for acceptance, belonging, and mental strength resonated strongly.

In essence, the event was a beacon of hope and empowerment, urging acceptance, support, and unity among communities. It underscored the significance of early assessments, medical care, and the collective responsibility of society to foster an inclusive environment for children and individuals with disabilities.

Insights from Medical Specialists:

The event was not only a platform for assessments but also a forum where medical experts shared critical insights and recommendations for addressing challenges faced by children with disabilities after conducting assessments and checkups. The remarks from specialists such as Jane Ngamau, an occupational therapist, and Agnes Gichuhi, a psychiatrist clinical officer, shed light on crucial aspects demanding immediate attention and reform.

Psychosocial Support and Educational Needs

Addressing psychosocial support, controlling hyperactivity, and ensuring proper education on conditions like epilepsy and kifafa emerged as focal points. The urgency to prevent brain damage by advocating for timely treatment was emphasized, aiming to maintain functional abilities for affected children. The experts highlighted the prevalence of mental health cases in children and stressed the need for early care. They advocated for socio-psychological support structures for parents, underscoring the importance of supporting programs tailored for parents and special units designed for the education of persons with disabilities from a young age.

Challenges and Urgent Needs

Concerns about the inadequacy of proper education and individual attention in private institutions for children living with disability, the necessity for early childhood education to develop crucial skills, and the call for parents to actively engage in understanding their children’s abilities were brought to the forefront. They emphasized the imperative need for parents and caregivers to overcome denial, ensuring consistent developmental monitoring and routine check-ups.

Addressing Staff Shortages and Unmet Needs

The acute shortage of staff, particularly immediately after birth and within rehabilitation departments catering to persons with disabilities, was highlighted. Moreover, the specialists drew attention to the alarming prevalence of mental handicaps in children, urging parents to be vigilant and sensitized against certain practices like marrying children with similar disabilities due to eugenics beliefs.

Unmet Needs and Call for Action

The need for free camps and assessments for children hidden within households, cases of parental neglect, and the necessity for increased awareness and support were pressing issues brought forth by the medical professionals.

In conclusion, the insights shared by medical experts Jane Ngamau and Agnes Gichuhi resonated deeply, highlighting unmet needs, challenges, and urgent calls for action. Their recommendations underscored the imperative of early intervention, robust parental support, and systemic reforms to ensure a more inclusive and supportive environment for children with disabilities.

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