50 top assistive technologies based on global survey, WHO

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According to the World Health Organization WHO, only 5-15% of the people – who require Prostheses & Orthoses or Assistive Health Technology (AHT) devices – actually get them. In 2050, it is anticipated that there will be 2 billion people in need of assistive devices with only 1 in 20 having access to them.

People with disabilities have the same general health care needs as others but are three times more likely to be denied health care and four times more likely to receive unsatisfactory treatment. Rajiv Singh Hanspal, ISPO President 2015–2017 and Chair of the ISPO 16th World Congress Committee.

WHO estimates that more than one billion people need assistive technology. With a global ageing population and rise in noncommunicable diseases, this number will rise beyond two billion by 2050, with many older people needing two or more products as they age.

Assistive technology enables people to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives; to participate in education, the labour market and social life. It can reduce the need for formal health and support services, long-term care and the burden on caregivers. Without assistive technology, people are often excluded, isolated and locked into poverty; also increasing the impact and the burden of morbidity and disability.

Today, only 1 in 10 people have access to assistive technology, due to a lack of financing, availability, awareness, trained personnel, and high costs. There are already large underserved populations for basic assistive products such as hearing aids, even in high-income countries. Where available, an astonishingly high proportion of assistive products are abandoned by users (estimates run as high as 75%). This represents a wider system failure and lack of appropriate policy across the world.

More than 10000 participants from 160 countries gave their verdict – selected 50 most priority assistive products. Survey result will be discussed in the forthcoming APL consensus meeting in Geneva on 21 and 22 March 2016. The APL will be published during the forthcoming 68 World Health Assembly.

The new WHO Priority Assistive Products List (APL), much like its precursor Essential Medicines List, will be a critical tool to make these products accessible to increasingly older populations and to people with disabilities everywhere.

CTV News Managing Editor Ethan Faber visits a shelter for children with disabilities in a remote village in Western Area, Sierra Leone.

CTV News Managing Editor Ethan Faber visits a shelter for children with disabilities in a remote village in Western Area, Sierra Leone.

The proposed list is not a restrictive list but aims to provide Member States with a model from which to develop national priority assistive products list; according to national need and available resources. Like the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the Priority Assistive Products List will also provide guidance for procurement and reimbursement policies, including insurance coverage.

The ultimate aim of the list is to develop assistive technology service delivery system as an integral part of the universal health coverage to increase access to assistive technology for one billion people who need them today, and to reach 1.5 billion by 2030 – leaving no one behind.

Source World Health Organization WHO

A man in a wheelchair grabs onto a bumper as he tries to find his way across the capital city, which has no transportation services for people who can't use their legs. Ethan Faber, CTV Vancouver.

A man in a wheelchair grabs onto a bumper as he tries to find his way across the capital city, which has no transportation services for people who can’t use their legs. Ethan Faber, CTV Vancouver.

WHO-mobility-devices-in-less-resouced-settings-eng
Joint position paper on the provision of mobility devices in less-resourced settings: a step towards implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) related to personal mobility. World Health Organization 2011. ISBN 978 92 4 150288 7.

Also see
So Much Potential in CTV Vancouver News
#ISPOWER is ISPO’s call to action for improved access to Assistive Health Technology (AHT) & care in ISPO Get involved
#ISPOWER Pilot Countries in ISPO
Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) in WHO
Global Cooperation on Assistive Health Technology (GATE) in Mednet Communities
New Unicef focus on supply gap for child disability products in Supply Management
Expert consultation to decide 50 top assistive technologies on basis of global survey in WHO
Improving access to rehabilitation to empower people with impaired mobility in Handicap International

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