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Perspectives of basic wheelchair users on improving their access to wheelchair services in Kenya and Philippines

Journal Article
(Published July, 2017)
Williams, E. (Author),
Hurwitz, E. (Author),
Obaga, I. (Author),
Onguti, B (Author),
Rivera, A. (Author),
Sy, T.R.L. (Author),
Tanuku, D. (Author),
Gichangi, A. (Author),
Bazant, E. (Author)
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Local researchers in Nairobi and Manila interviewed 48 adult basic wheelchair users, with even distribution of those who had and had not received wheelchair services along with their wheelchair. Wheelchair users frequently described past experiences with ill-fitting wheelchairs and little formal training to use wheelchairs effectively. Through exposure to multiple wheelchairs and self-advocacy, they learned to select wheelchairs suitable for their needs. Maintenance and repair services were often in short supply. Participants attributed shorter duration of wheelchair use to lack of repair. Peer support networks emerged as an important source of knowledge, resources and emotional support. Most participants acknowledged that they received wheelchairs that would have been difficult or impossible for them to pay for, and despite challenges, they were grateful to have some means of mobility. Four themes emerged as critical for understanding the implementation of wheelchair services: barriers in the physical environment, the need for having multiple chairs to improve access, perceived social stigma, and the importance of peer support.
Conclusions: Interventions are needed to provide wheelchairs services efficiently, at scale, in an environment facilitating physical access and peer support, and reduced social stigma.

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Citation: 
Williams E, Hurwitz E, Obaga I, Onguti B, Rivera A, Sy TRL, et al. Perspectives of basic wheelchair users on improving their access to wheelchair services in Kenya and Philippines: a qualitative study. FY18 BMC Int Health Hum Rights. 2017;17(1):22