Disabilities and rehabilitation

Assistive devices/technologies

Assistive devices and technologies such as wheelchairs, prostheses, mobility aides, hearing aids, visual aids, and specialized computer software and hardware increase mobility, hearing, vision and communication capacities. With the aid of these technologies, people with a loss in functioning are better able to live independently and participate in their societies. However, in many low-income and middle-income countries, only 5%-15% of people who require assistive devices and technologies have access to them.

What WHO is doing

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD requests the states to promote access to assistive devices and technologies at an affordable cost and facilitate training for people with disabilities and professionals and staff working in habilitation and rehabilitation services. WHO, in partnership with collaborating centres and partners, is assisting these efforts by:

  • developing normative guidelines;
  • organizing regional and country workshops, meetings and seminars to promote and facilitate access to assistive devices;
  • providing assistance for the development of national policies and programmes on assistive devices and technologies with a focus on human resource development;
  • creating a database on availability of appropriate assistive devices and technologies.

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