People with intellectual disabilities face significant challenges accessing quality health care, resulting in pronounced health disparities and reduced life expectancy. People with intellectual disabilities die 16 years younger than the general population, but they die from the same conditions as everyone else—cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, etc. Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with ID are often unable to access basic health care. The Golisano Foundation has partnered with Special Olympics Kenya since 2014 on Special Olympics’ Healthy Communities, helping athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities have the same access to health and wellness resources and services as people without intellectual disabilities. This week, Ann Costello, Executive Director of the Foundation, visited Kenya for the first time to see the impact of the critical health work they fund and met with Special Olympics athletes, and spoke with families, teachers and community health volunteers in Nkaimurunya and Kawangare. “The athletes of Special Olympics have tremendous health care needs and they are marginalized all over the world. We have a wonderful Special Olympics program here in Kenya which is not just a model for Africa, but for the whole world and I believe the athletes deserve the best," Costello observed.
Please read a full article detailing this visit in The Daily Nation.
Mercy Mbone, a Sports Reporter for Media Max in Kenya and a Young Reporter with AIPS, the International Sports Press Association, is attending the trip and capturing stories and footage to share with media in Kenya and throughout Africa. Mercy has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Kenya for the last two years and attended the World Games in Abu Dhabi as a Young Reporter. The AIPS Young Reporters programme was made possible by Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).