Washington DC, 7 October 2021 (PAHO)- On October 7th, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), led a regional consultation with Member States to inform the development of the Global Report on effective access to Assistive Technology (GReAT).
In 2018, the resolution WHA 71.8 “Improving access to assistive technology”, called upon WHO to prepare the GReAT, based on scientific evidence, international experience, and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Objectives of this Global Report include highlighting the current need, demand, and supply of assistive technology, as well as outlining good practices for innovation and recommendations to improve access.
Assistive technology (AT) is a subset of health technology that refers to assistive products (AP) and related systems and services that enable people with difficulties in functioning to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives. It is estimated that more than 1 billion people would benefit from assistive technology, but only 1 in 10 people in need have access to them, increasing their risk of exclusion, isolation, and poverty.
The GReAT was drafted by WHO in collaboration with UNICEF and provides important information and recommendations to increase access to assistive technology for everyone, anywhere.
During regional consultation, Antony Duttine, PAHO´s Advisor on Disability and Rehabilitation, and Alexandre Lemgruber, PAHO´s Advisor on Health Technologies Management, described the actions that PAHO is implementing, including the adaptation of the WHO priority AP list to the countries’ needs and contexts, assessment of the regulatory situation and health technology assessment of AP in the Region, and evaluating the needs, demand, and barriers to access AT, as well as the capacity of the countries to regulate, finance, procure and provide AT.
New data on the met and unmet needs for AT in the Region were presented by GReAT contributors and 41 representatives of 21 Member States participated in the consultation by:
- making sure the data on people, products, provision, personnel, policy, and access to AT in emergency situations is accurate, complete, and reflects the reality of the countries in the Region, and
- providing feedback on the recommendations proposed to increase access to AT.
The GReAT will be published in early 2022 after a Global Consultation is held with key stakeholders and AT experts around the world by the end of this month.