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A new report released today by WHO and UNICEF shows that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more ancillary products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids or programs that support communication and cognition. However, nearly one billion of them do not have access, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where access may be as little as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.

Global Assistive Technology Report for the first time provides evidence of the global need for and access to ancillary products and provides a range of recommendations to increase accessibility and access, raise awareness of the need for and implement inclusion policies to improve the lives of millions of people.

“Assistive technologies are life-changing – they open the door to education for children with disabilities, employment and social interaction for adults with disabilities, and independent living for older people,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom. Hebrews: “Denying people access to these life-changing tools is not only a violation of human rights, but also economically short-sighted. We call on all countries to fund and give priority to access to assistive technologies and give everyone the opportunity to realize their potential.”

“Nearly 240 million children with disabilities. Denying children the right to the necessities of life not only harms individual children, but also deprives families and their communities of everything they could do if their needs were met, ”said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. . “Without access to assistive technology, children with disabilities will continue to miss their education, continue to be at greater risk of child labor and continue to face stigma and discrimination that undermines their confidence and well-being.”

The report notes that the number of people in need of one or more ancillary products is likely to rise to 3.5 billion by 2050 due to an aging population and rising prevalence of noncommunicable diseases worldwide. The report also highlights the large gap in access between low- and high-income countries. An analysis of 35 countries shows that access ranges from 3% in poor countries to 90% in rich countries.

Accessibility is a major barrier to access, the report said. About two-thirds of people who use ancillary products said they pay for them out of pocket. Others reported relying on financial support from their family and friends.

A survey of 70 countries identified in the report found large gaps in service delivery and training for assistive technologies, especially in the areas of cognition, communication and self-service. Preliminary surveys published by the WHO note a lack of awareness and unaffordable prices, a lack of services, inadequate quality, range and quantity of products, and procurement and supply problems as major barriers.

Ancillary products are generally considered to be a means of participation in public life and in society at large on an equal footing with others; without them, people are alienated, at risk of isolation, living in poverty, may face hunger and are forced to depend more on the support of family, society and the state.

The positive impact of ancillary products goes beyond improving the health, well-being, participation and inclusion of individual users – families and society will also benefit. For example, expanding access to quality, safe, and affordable ancillary products reduces health and social care costs, such as periodic hospitalizations or government benefits, and promotes a more productive workforce by indirectly stimulating economic growth.

Access to assistive technology for children with disabilities is often the first step to childhood development, access to education, participation in sports and social life, and preparation for work as their peers. Children with disabilities have additional problems due to their growth, which requires frequent adjustments or replacement of their ancillary products.

The report provides recommendations for specific actions to improve access, including:

1. Improving access to education, health and social care systems
2. Ensure the availability, safety, effectiveness and availability of ancillary products
3. Expand, diversify and improve workforce capacity
4. Actively engage assistive technology users and their families
5. Raise public awareness and combat stigma
6. Invest in data-driven and evidence-based policies
7. Invest in research, innovation and a supportive ecosystem
8. Develop and invest in favorable conditions
9. Incorporate assistive technologies into humanitarian aid
10. Provide technical and economic assistance through international cooperation to support national efforts.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO).

This press release was published by APO. The content is not controlled by the African Business Editorial Team, and the content has not been reviewed or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or factual verifications. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this notice.

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