The Department of Compensation and Welfare (C&W) and the Military Wives Association of Kenya (MWAK) on 15 September held a disability workshop at the KDF Wellness Centre in Langata Barracks.
The event, themed ‘Marching forth to disability inclusion,’ saw the forum provide the much needed platform for discussion on some of the challenges that KDF personnel with various disabilities in and out of service face and, and make recommendations towards addressing the issues.
In his address, the Chief of Welfare and Compensation Brigadier Charles Mwazighe expressed the great importance of inclusivity for all personnel regardless of one’s ability or lack thereof.
“Among the eight point agenda of the Chief of Defence Forces, number five is concerned with strengthening the soldier’s welfare system and that is why the C&W department is prioritizing the acceleration of the response to our personnel’s needs, ” he noted.
A number of institutions geared towards aiding people with disabilities have been scouted who will efficiently act as a step towards re-skilling our gallant soldiers who are now abled differently.
MWAK’S chairlady, Mrs Tabitha Kibochi, reiterated that a joint operation, in partnership with the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPWD) and with the support of the Compensation and Welfare department, was crucial in ensuring that these soldiers are reintegrated back into society.
Chief Medical Officer Brigadier Dr James Mwika, on behalf of the Director of Medical Services, illumed that in line with furthering the CDF’s mission readiness agenda and, MWAK’s endeavour towards the address and betterment of personnel welfare, several advancements have been undertaken to ensure that the medical needs of KDF’s personnel will be well catered for within the establishment.
“A 120 bed medical facility at Kahawa Garrison is already in process of being constructed. And it is with great pride that I say Defence Forces Medical Services is now capable, in terms of equipment and personnel, of catering for some of the specialized needs of the disadvantaged,” he added.
Captain Daniel Musila, an officer who was injured in the frontline, expressed his gratitude towards the measures put in place to reintegrate the soldiers back into normalcy, consequently removing incidences of discrimination and stigma.
The NCPWD Executive Director, Mr Harun Hassan expressed pleasure at the possibility of a future partnership with the KDF.
“We as NCPWD will strive to bring all our knowledge and experience to the table in helping our warrior brethren towards getting back their lives through counselling, rehabilitation and reassignment, ” he noted.
Various issues were raised among them, career progression, housing and infrastructure redesign to accommodate people with disabilities , treatment accessibility, tax exemption review, participation in sports and dependant employment.