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Linking people with disabilities to health services in Kenya

March 15, 2013 —

Monica Wambui may not be able to hear, but she has a lot to say. The 37-year-old deaf mother of four wants to become a trainer so that she can teach individuals with hearing loss about HIV/AIDS and other issues that affect their health.

Wambui was among more than 40 people with disabilities who attended a workshop organized by the USAID-funded APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde project in Nakuru, Kenya. “I have attended many meetings to discuss HIV/AIDS but this one is different,” Monica said through her interpreter. “In this workshop the methods were different. I was happy to get explanations from people with disabilities like myself."

Wambui said she particularly enjoyed the session on gender issues.

APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde works closely with the Kenyan organization Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment and Kenya's National Council for Persons with Disabilities to identify and train local champions who can encourage and mobilize people with disabilities to get tested for HIV across five counties in the Rift Valley region.

During the meeting in Nakuru, eight participants volunteered to be counseled and tested for HIV. After learning their results, they were linked to services that would provide them appropriate care and support, including information sessions in sign language.

Paul Ole Sopia, Chairman of the Narok Disabled Integrated Program, reports that people with disabilities have been empowered by the training provided by APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde. “They appreciated the information and demonstrations on condom use and family planning methods,” he says. “For many of them it was the first time to be trained.”

APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde works with the Government of Kenya and diverse partners to improve the quality of life for Kenya’s most at-risk populations, including those with disabilities, women and children, and individuals and families affected by HIV.

For more information on APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde, click here.

Photo credit: George Obanyi, FHI 360 Kenya