Meru County has the highest percentage of people living with disability, a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.
According to the study released a fortnight ago, Meru has 8.5 per cent of persons with disability followed by Vihiga (6.3 per cent), Kirinyaga (5.8 per cent) and Siaya (5.3 per cent).
Visual and hearing disabilities are prevalent in Meru at 4.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.
The number of persons with disability in the four counties is above the national average of 2.8 per cent.
“Nationally, the proportion of persons with disability was 2.8 per cent with rural areas having a higher proportion of 3.3 per cent compared to two per cent for urban areas,” KNBS reports.
One per cent of Kenyans have visual disability, hearing (0.5 per cent) and physical (one per cent). Mental disability is more prevalent in rural (0.5 per cent) than urban areas (0.3 per cent).
Nyeri and Vihiga counties have the highest number of persons with mental disability.
Physical disability is prevalent in Nyamira (2.6 per cent), Siaya (2.4 per cent), Migori (2.4 per cent) and Tharaka-Nithi (2.1 per cent).
“Visual disability is prevalent in Meru (4.9 per cent), Kirinyaga (three per cent), and Vihiga (2.9 per cent),” KNBS says.
Counties with a small proportion of people with disability included Mombasa (0.5 per cent), Kajiado (0.7 per cent), Bomet (0.7 per cent) and Kiambu (1.1 per cent).
The percentage of people with disability in Nairobi is 1.2 per cent, which is below the national average. Nationally, the population that does not attend school due to disability stands at three per cent.
The population aged six to 17 which does not attend school as a result of disability is higher in urban areas (5.3 per cent) compared to rural (2.6 per cent).
The study also found that more than half of the population with disability had difficulty in engaging in economic activity.
“At the national level, slightly over a half (54.7 per cent) of persons with disability reported to have had difficulties in engaging in economic activity with a higher proportion reported in rural areas compared to urban areas,” the survey says.
The number of disabled people who cannot engage in economic activity is slightly higher in rural areas (55.4) compared to urban (52.7 per cent).
Vihiga County has the highest proportion of persons with disability who reported difficulty in engaging in economic activity (92.8 per cent) followed by Migori (83.8 per cent), Nyamira (79.9 per cent) and Isiolo (78.4).
Uasin Gishu has (30 per cent), Nakuru (30.7 per cent) and Bomet (20 per cent).
Access to education is a major challenge for children living with disability.
The National Special Needs Education Survey 2016 report by the Ministry of Education revealed that there are factors that hinder school attendance among disabled children.
High levels of poverty, lack of assistive devices such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, and parents keeping disabled children out of contact with others are some of the factors, the report found.
Lack of proper means of transport to school, inadequate specialised teachers and special schools are other factors that need to be addressed to create an equal environment for persons living with disability.
Accidents rank among the top causes of disability.
According to the National Transport and Safety Authority, 238 road users had been seriously injured as at March this year.
In 2017, 1,022 road users were recorded as having serious injuries that could lead to disabilities.
As at March, the seriously injured road users included pedestrians (162), drivers (101), passengers (340), pillion passengers (101), pedal cyclists (6), and motorcyclists (118).