By Brian Ondeng (KNA)
Persons with disabilities in Siaya County have been encouraged to use the E-citizen platform to register as members of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) to benefit from government support and tax exemption.
Speaking in Bondo during the celebrations of World Disability Day, NCPWD Nyanza regional director Mr. George Odhiambo said the current registration of persons with disabilities in Siaya County is less than 20,000 while it is estimated that about 90,000 people are with disabilities in the region.
Odhiambo attributed the low registration to a tedious and expensive assessment process by the Ministry of Health which has discouraged persons with disabilities from registration.
He disclosed that only three facilities in Siaya County namely Siaya Referral Hospital, Bondo, and Yala sub-county hospitals have been approved to conduct assessments for disability making it difficult for persons with disabilities to access.
The regional director also added that the facilities also charge fees for the assessment which is unaffordable to people with disabilities who have no sources of income.
Odhiambo noted that although the hospital assessment will still be required, the use of the E-citizen platform to register with the NCPWD will expedite the process of acquiring disability cards which previously took longer to obtain.
He on the other hand asked organizations in the region to stop discriminating against persons with disabilities adding that they should honor the 5% constitutional provision of employing persons with disability.
Sigomere ward MCA Andrew Omwende who graced the occasion said the county assembly of Siaya is at the final stage of passing the disability bill 2023 which will salvage the plight of persons with disabilities in the county.
Omwende said the bill will address among other things the 5% employment provision, hold to account the County Public Service Board, address the issues of land rights and gender-based violence against persons with disabilities as well and ensure buildings, where public services are offered, are accessible to persons with disabilities.
The MCA urged persons with disabilities to take advantage of workshops and equipment provided by the county government of Siaya to empower themselves economically.