11.9 C
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
NewsAssistive technology: a ‘life changer’ for those most in need

Assistive technology: a ‘life changer’ for those most in need

DISCLAIMER: Information and opinions reproduced in the articles are the ones of those stating them and it is their own responsibility. Publication in The European Times does not automatically means endorsement of the view, but the right to express it.

DISCLAIMER TRANSLATIONS: All articles in this site are published in English. The translated versions are done through an automated process known as neural translations. If in doubt, always refer to the original article. Thank you for understanding.

News mostly coming from official institutions (officialinstitutions)

More from the author

WHO launches a global health pass

WHO launches a global health pass inspired by the European Covid digital certificate

World Health Organization will take up the European Union system of digital COVID certification to establish a global health pass to facilitate global mobility.
National leadership structures are critical parts of an effective anti-trafficking strategy

National leadership structures are critical parts of an effective anti-trafficking strategy

National leadership structures are critical parts of an effective anti-trafficking strategy, say participants at annual anti-trafficking meeting
World Bee Day 20 May

World Bee Day 20 May – We all depend on the survival of bees

World Bee Day is 20 May coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques
needed to safeguard media freedom and protect democracy

Urgent collective response needed to safeguard media freedom and protect democracy

The ninth South East Europe Media Conference, "At a Crossroads: Safeguarding Media Freedom to Protect Democracy,"
Almost one billion people with disabilities and older persons are being denied access to assistive technology, according to a UN report published on Monday, calling on governments and industry to fund and prioritize access.
Produced jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The Global Report on Assistive Technology presents new evidence of the global need for – and access to – tech that can make a fundamental difference.

“Assistive technology is a life changer – it opens the door to education for children with impairments, employment and social interaction for adults living with disabilities, and an independent life of dignity for older persons,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

We call on all countries to fund and prioritize access to assistive technology – WHO chief

Huge disparities

Although more than 2.5 billion people require one or more assistive products to support communication and cognition – such as wheelchairs or hearing aids – a shocking one billion simply have no access to them.

The report highlights the vast gap between low and high-income countries, with an analysis of 35 States revealing that admittance varies from three per cent in poorer nations, to 90 per cent in wealthy countries.

“Nearly 240 million children have disabilities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

Denying them the right to the products they need to thrive not only harms individual children, “it deprives families and their communities of everything they could contribute if their needs were met,” she added.

Identifying obstacles

Affordability is a major barrier to access, the report notes.

Around two thirds of people using assistive products reported paying out-of-pocket while others have had to financially rely on family and friends.

Meanwhile, aging populations and rising cases of noncommunicable diseases, mean that the number of people in need of assistive technology is likely rise to 3.5 billion, by 2050.

A survey of 70 countries found large assistive technology gaps in services and levels of workforce training, especially in cognition, communication and self care.

Other key barriers revealed in previous WHO surveys included unaffordable prices, a lack of awareness and services, inadequate product quality, and procurement and supply chain challenges.

© UNICEF/Ziyah Gafic

In Kosovo, a father helps his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy, get back into his electric wheelchair.

Multiple gains

Assistive products are generally considered a means to participate in life on an equal footing with others.

Without them, people risk isolation, poverty and hunger; suffer exclusion, and depend more on family, community and government support.

And the users are not the only ones to reap benefits: families and societies also profit.

“Denying people access to these life-changing tools is not only an infringement of human rights, it’s economically short-sighted,” said Tedros.

Enabling more access to quality-assured, safe and affordable assistive products reduces health and welfare costs, such as recurrent hospital admissions or state benefits, and promotes a more productive labour force, indirectly stimulating economic growth.

Raising children

Access to assistive technology for children with disabilities is often the first step for development, access to education, participation in sport and civic life, and preparation for employment like their peers, the report says.

However, as they grow, they are faced with additional challenges, such as frequent adjustments or the need to replace tech aids.

“Without access to assistive technology, children with disabilities will continue to miss out on their education, continue to be at a greater risk of child labor and continue to be subjected to stigma and discrimination, undermining their confidence and wellbeing,” warned the UNICEF chief.

Around the world, an estimated 93 million children under the age of 15 are living with some kind of disability. © UNICEF/Vanda Kljajo

Around the world, an estimated 93 million children under the age of 15 are living with some kind of disability.

Improving access

The Global Report provides a series of recommendations to expand availability and access, raise awareness, and implement inclusion policies to improve the lives of millions.

It specifically advocates for improving access within education, health and social care systems; ensuring the availability, effectiveness and affordability of assistive products; enlarging, diversifying and improving workforce capacity; and investing in research, innovation, and an enabling ecosystem.

The brief also underscores the need to increase public awareness and combat stigma; develop and invest in enabling environments and evidence-based policies and include this vital technology in humanitarian responses.

“We call on all countries to fund and prioritize access to assistive technology and give everyone a chance to live up to their potential,” underscored the top WHO official.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Must read

Latest articles

- Advertisement -