HEALTH

Special Olympics Kenya promotes physical fitness, wellness and healthy lifestyles among persons with intellectual disabilities, and follow –Up Care.

 

 

 

 

1. Healthy Communities

The goal is to create communities where Special Olympics athletes and others with intellectual disabilities (ID) have the same access to health and wellness resources – and can attain the same level of good health – as all community members and where there is no “wrong door” for someone with ID to walk through. To achieve this, Special Olympics Kenya promotes physical fitness, wellness and healthy lifestyles among persons with intellectual disabilities, and follow –Up Care.

With more than 1.6 million free health examinations conducted in more than 130 countries, the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® program offers health services and information to athletes in dire need. In the process, Special Olympics has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities. Over the years, Special Olympics health programs have improved the health of our athletes, and in many cases, profoundly changed–or saved–their lives.

Testimonial

Moise Ahoussimou, a poor West African boy with an intellectual disability and next to no vision, is one example. While volunteering with the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, a doctor realized Moise had been blinded by cataracts. He was referred for a simple operation, and Moise left his appointment with restored sight. He saw his father for the first time. “I can see.” He grabbed his father’s hand. “Hey! Dad, I didn’t know you are that tall!”

Expanding Across the country

Through the Healthy Communities project, Special Olympics Kenya intends to create 2 counties (Kajiado and Nakuru) that serve as inclusive pockets of excellence, creating models for expansion across all of Kenya’s 47 counties.

Healthy Communities, is a Special Olympics Kenya initiative which works through partnerships to ensure athletes undergo wellness and fitness programs which include WASH and Nutrition sessions on a year round basis. Healthy Communities works to link the athlete to health education and prevention programs and treatment in the community to prevent or treat the health issue. It is all about physical fitness to mitigate against sickness.

It is an important shift for the Special Olympics Kenya Movement for supplementing existing systems of care for persons with intellectual disabilities to attain the same level of health and wellbeing as others members of the community.

Special Olympics Kenya has many partnerships in place, including formal agreement with 26 counties who support the athletes and local programming in Kenya and this suggests that further support within the area of inclusive healthcare is attainable.

Special Olympics Kenya previously implemented a 1 year Healthy Community project (Expanding Health grant) focused on wellness activities, athlete leadership, family health education and establishing partnerships with local County Government structures as well as hospitals. The 1 year project served as a useful pilot with important lessons being learned and project design being improved for this 3 year project plan. Fortunately, the selected county of Kajiado meant that some initial relationships were established in 2015 and these will be strengthened as a part of this project and various new elements are being introduced such as training of hospital staff, ensuring that facilities are disability friendly, involving hospitals and their staff directly during screening events etc.

Special Olympics Kenya Partners with:

  • Lions Clubs
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Red Cross Kenya
  • National and county government structures
  • UNICEF Kenya

These existing, and additional new partnerships, will be leveraged to ensure that the project is adopted comprehensively amongst all stakeholders, and in a sustainable and scalable manner.

Healthy Community Objectives

  • Setting up referral networks post screenings utilizing predominantly the NGO and government sectors given the low reach of private healthcare in Kenya
  • Improving sustainability through securing cash and VIK support from County governments and private companies
  • Engaging families and athletes in positive parenting, family forums and walking clubs to improve their health knowledge, physical and mental wellness
  • Training and positioning athlete leaders as health advocates to improve peer to peer knowledge transfer
  • Affecting long term change by introducing a curriculum on intellectual disability in to Kenya Medical Training Colleges
  • Affecting long term change by introducing a curriculum on intellectual disability in to Kenya Medical Training Colleges

Special Olympics Kenya is the second largest Program in the Africa region, serves as a model for many other Programs in the Region and looks forward to creating a success of the Healthy Communities project in Kenya for the benefit of all individuals with ID in the country, but also for the influence that Kenya may have on other countries in East Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Healthy Athletes

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Screening, is a program that provides clinical screening to individuals with intellectual disabilities in 6 medical disciplines;

  • MED Fest (General Body Check-up)
  • Opening eyes (ophthalmology & Optometry)
  • Special Smiles (Oral Health) and Health Promotion( Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles)
  • Fit Feet (Podiatry)
  • Healthy Hearing(ENT)

Special Olympics Kenya conducts approximately 6 Healthy Athletes Screenings annually, which target individuals with intellectual disabilities, approximately 1200 individuals with intellectual disabilities are screened annually. Through the partnership with Lions Club District 411a, individuals diagnosed with ophthalmological problems, receive free treatment and surgery from Lions sight first hospital. Moreover, Special Olympics Kenya collaborates with host counties to ensure that the participants receive further treatment from the county hospitals and other healthcare providers.

 

3.SO FIT

Initiated by Special Olympics, The SO Fit program for individuals with intellectual disabilities guides athletes to achieve fitness and personal best with physical activities, nutrition and hydration.

With the help of clinical directors, specialists, and medical students from Kenya Medical Training Centre campuses, Special Olympics Kenya collaborates with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and County Governments, to conduct medical screening for thousands of children and adults with intellectual disabilities all over the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.Family Health Forum

Special Olympics Family Health Forums engages families of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and offer an environment where parents and caregivers can gain direct access to health information, resources, and support.

Family Health Forums are an avenue to provide families and caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities with direct access to community leaders, health care professionals, and social service providers; Provide orientation to new families as to what Special Olympics is, the services provided through such initiatives as Healthy Athletes and Young Athletes, and other community-based programs for people with ID; 

and Provide health care professionals, community leaders and social service providers with the opportunity to learn more about the challenges that athletes and their families face, and explore ways to help facilitate better access to health care, education, and inclusive activities.

The forums orient new families to Special Olympics Kenya, Healthy Athletes, and other community-based programs for people with Intellectual Disability, and provide those who serve as educators during the forums with the opportunity to learn more about the challenges that people with intellectual Disability and their families face.

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