Understanding the need for Assistive Technology

Estimates of the current needs and unmet needs for Assistive Technology (AT) tell an alarming story. More than 2 billion people are likely to need assistive products by 2050 and currently only 10% of people get the assistive products they need.

AT and Assistive Products are an important precursor to independence and inclusion for people with disability and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities includes the right to access the assistive products people need. However, this is only part of the picture. Assistive products are also a crucial part of healthy ageing, disability inclusion, recovering from injury or illness, and addressing a range of congenital conditions such as club foot.

The Nossal Institute is collaborating on global efforts to transform how the need for AT is understood. Dr Manjula Marella and Dr Wes Pryor are providing technical support to the World Health Organization’s Assistive Technology department, known as GATE, to deliver a Global Survey on Assistive Technology in over 30 countries.

CREDIT @WHOPakistan Elderly women holding a large piece of paper with picture of differenet types of Assistive TechnologyDrawing on previous work to understand the prevalence and determinants of disability, functional impairment, and social inclusion, the Nossal team has supported the design of the Rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) and the enumerator trainings for the Global Survey. The team are also providing technical advice to in-country survey coordinators in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions as well as survey coordination with colleagues from Norway, Sweden, Ireland, the US, and WHO headquarters.

Findings from the Global Survey will be included in the Global Report on Assistive Technology to be launched in late 2022. The Global Survey and the Global Report aim to provide new, more precise estimates of the needs and unmet needs for assistive products; learn more about current use of products and where they come from; and identify the reasons for unmet needs. The findings will strengthen the case for renewed and targeted investments in Assistive Technology and related rehabilitation services.

Read more about the Rapid Assistive Technology Assessment