Disability and rehabilitation

Assistive devices and technologies

An Indian lady in a wheelchair carrying a jug of water

Assistive devices and technologies are those whose primary purpose is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence to facilitate participation and to enhance overall well-being. They can also help prevent impairments and secondary health conditions. Examples of assistive devices and technologies include wheelchairs, prostheses, hearings aids, visual aids, and specialized computer software and hardware that increase mobility, hearing, vision, or communication capacities. 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

WHO, along with WHO Collaborating Centres and partners, is:

  • developing normative guidelines;
  • organizing regional and country workshops, meetings and seminars to promote and facilitate access to assistive devices and technologies;
  • 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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