New From WHO and UNICEF: Almost One Billion Children and Adults With Disabilities and Older Persons in Need of Assistive Technology Denied Access, According to New Report
From a Joint News Release:
A new report published today by WHO and UNICEF reveals that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition. Yet nearly one billion of them are denied access, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where access can be as low as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.
The Global Report on Assistive Technology presents evidence for the first time on the global need for and access to assistive products and provides a series of recommendations to expand availability and access, raise awareness of the need, and implement inclusion policies to improve the lives of millions of people.
The report notes that the number of people in need of one or more assistive products is likely to rise to 3.5 billion by 2050, due to populations ageing and the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases rising across the world. The report also highlights the vast gap in access between low- and high-income countries. An analysis of 35 countries reveals that access varies from 3% in poorer nations to 90% in wealthy countries.
Affordability is a major barrier to access, the report notes. Around two thirds of people with assistive products reported out-of-pocket payments for them. Others reported relying on family and friends to financially support their needs.
A survey of 70 countries featured in the report found large gaps in service provision and trained workforce for assistive technology, especially in the domains of cognition, communication and self-care. Previous surveys published by WHO note a lack of awareness and unaffordable prices, lack of services, inadequate product quality, range and quantity, and procurement and supply chain challenges as key barriers.
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.