The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global survey to gather views on the most necessary and useful assistive technologies such as hearing aids, wheel chairs and personal alarms.
The survey will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies to provide a tool for governments. Governments can use the list to plan and focus efforts to help populations acquire the 50 priority products, thereby improving the everyday lives of the elderly and people with disabilities.
These practical tools – some low, some higher technologies – are becoming increasingly necessary to the many people in high- and middle-income countries who are living longer due to better healthcare. Similar devices are used by people with disabilities, allowing them to live more autonomously and participate in their communities.
However, such tools are not readily available everywhere. WHO estimates that only 1 out of 10 people who need these vital supports are accessing them today, due to lack of availability and awareness, and high costs. The aim is to increase access to assistive technologies for 1 billion people who need them today, and to reach 1.5 billion by 2030.
To read more about the survey and, if you wish, take part on the who.int website