Factors inhibiting equalization of opportunities towards persons with physical disabilities in Uasin-Gishu County, Kenya
Background: Persons with physical disabilities experience unfavorable conditions in health care, education, employment infrastructure and recreational facilities. Persons with physical disabilities have encountered challenges in accessing health services, accessing the inbuilt environment. Likewise they have also faced economic exclusion, religious exclusion and social/moral exclusion. Laws have been enacted globally, in Africa and in Kenya and the latest universal law being the United Nations Convention on Rights of Person with Disabilities. Aim of the study: To determine factors inhibiting equalization of opportunities with regards to the services in health, education, employment and to explore the factors inhibiting equalization of opportunities with regards to infrastructure and recreational facilities, to persons with physical disability in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. Study area: Research was conducted at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and APDK Mobile Outreach Centers for Persons with disability. Research Design: Mixed method approach (concurrent) was used where the researcher integrated information at the final interpretation of the results. The study was done in quantitative and qualitative phases. Research Instruments: A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. The questionnaire that was in four sections was administered to 375 participants and it sought to determine the factors inhibiting equalization of opportunities to persons with physical disabilities with regards to health, education and employment. The reliability and validity of the research instrument was tested before use. Six focus group discussions using the nomination rule was conducted and it comprised of 6-8 participants. Structured interviews with four key informants were also held to explore the factors inhibiting equalization of opportunities to persons with physical disabilities in recreational facilities and infrastructure in Uasin Gishu County Kenya. Data analysis: Version 22 of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to pinpoint the quantitative data. Descriptive statistics was used and the findings were presented in the form of frequencies and percentages. To test the relationship between the different categories of variables inferential statistics (chi-square) was used, (p<0.05). For the qualitative data, the tape recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, field notes typed, categorizing and ordering data was done and themes were produced. To obtain themes thematic content analysis was used. Ethics: The participants were made aware of the aim of the study, confidentiality and their freedom to withdraw from the study. Approval was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Senate Research Grants and Study Leave Committee before the study commenced. Ethical clearance was also obtained from the Institutional Research and Ethics Committee of MTRH and Moi University. Informed approval was also obtained before the survey and the FGD. Results: There were statistially significant relationship between nature of disability and workplace policies (p=0.001) to employment, distance from residence (p=0.001) to health facility and attitude of health workers on access to health. There was also a significant relationship between school policies (p=0.001) and help from family members (p=0.001) in access to education. The emerging themes in the FGD were the presence of sidewalks, zebra crossing, car parks, traffic control lights, benches and rest areas, transport adaptation, building adaptation, toilets and ramps/ lifts. The discussions in the emerging themes in the FGDs showed that persons with physical disabilities are yet to fully access infrastructure and recreational facilities. Conclusion: These results therefore showed that PWDs are yet to attain equalization of opportunities with regards to health, employment, education and recreation compared to their non-disabled counterparts and is therefore recommended that the legislations/policies in place be fully implemented in line with UN convention 2006 and persons with disabilities Act 2003 (Kenya).