Assistive products such as wheelchairs, white canes, hearing aids and prosthetics are essential tools which facilitate greater independence and inclusion, and allow people to access and participate education, work and employment. They provide a greater opportunity for people to escape poverty, and enable people to live a dignified life. Motivation Australia has witnessed the impact on a person’s life that can be made through access to the right assistive product, at the right time.
People who use assistive products include children or adults with a disability, people with disabling health conditions or older persons. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over one billion people need one or more assistive products, however many people living in low income countries are unable to access them. Challenges include limited availability, high costs, in-appropriate products, lack of services and too few trained local personnel.
To support and improve access to high quality, affordable assistive products globally, the WHO has introduced the Priority Assistive Products List (APL). The APL was developed in extensive consultation with experts, including users and their caregivers, and aims to improve access to assistive products for everyone, everywhere. It lists 50 priority assistive products and is intended to guide and support Member States to fulfil their commitment to improving access to assistive products as mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The APL is the first step in implementing a global commitment to improving access to assistive products and is part of WHO’s flagship programme – Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE). Motivation Australia is actively participating in the GATE initiative, which has enormous potential to improve access to assistive products globally as well as supporting the WHO’s global strategy of people-centred, universal and integrated health services across the lifespan.