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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a blow in the various sectors of our economy as well as our personal lives. The solutions in building back better must be carried out hand in hand with persons with disabilities themselves.
Many have lost jobs, leaving them with nothing to sustain themselves. Notably, these effects have disproportionately affected persons with disabilities owing to numerous barriers in our environments.
First and foremost, persons with disabilities in Kenya have been adversely affected economically. More so for the small scale entrepreneurs who sell goods both in the Central Business District (CBD) as well as the outskirts of the Nairobi city who were forced to shut down their businesses. This was partly because demand for their goods dropped as buyers became extra careful of buying goods more so in the streets. This has continued to leave their families as well as themselves helpless and without anything to sustain themselves.
Persons with disabilities in Kenya have also continued to face barriers in access to healthcare, more so now during the pandemic. This includes accessing medical care as well as medical supplies. Whereas there has always been stereotyping and discrimination against persons with disabilities in their access to healthcare, during the pandemic it has been harder.
The Kenyan transport system has never been favorable nor accessible to persons with disabilities. They still must depend on touts to help them in and out of the vehicles and pay extra for the space their assistive devices will occupy. As we might say this is inconsiderate of the PSV owners, it is only right to blame the government on this issue for not providing vehicles that are accessible to persons with disabilities. It has therefore been and will continue to be an uphill task for persons with disabilities to travel and at the same time observe government directives on social distancing. This is more so because they will still require help getting in and out of the vehicles. The fact that they also need support while standing and transferring will put them at a greater risk of contracting the virus.
It is therefore very crucial that these matters be considered and solutions put forward to protect persons with disabilities during the pandemic. The solutions in building back better must be carried out hand in hand with persons with disabilities themselves.