Improving access to assistive technology for everyone, everywhere
WHO estimates that over one billion people need one or more assistive products. The majority of these are older people and people with disabilities. As people age, including those with disabilities, their function declines in multiple areas and their need for assistive products increases accordingly. As the global population progressively ages and prevalence of noncommunicable diseases rises, the number of people needing assistive products is projected to increase to beyond two billion by 2050.
Assistive products enable people to live healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives; to participate in education, the labour market and civic life. Assistive products can also help to reduce the need for formal health and support services, long-term care
and the work of caregivers. Without assistive products, people may suffer exclusion, are at risk of isolation and poverty, and may become a burden to their family and on society.
The positive impact of assistive products goes far beyond improving the health and well-being of individual users and their families. There are also socioeconomic benefits to be gained, by virtue of reduced direct health and welfare costs (such as recurrent hospital admissions or state benefits), and by enabling a more productive labour force, indirectly stimulating economic growth...
To improve access to high quality, affordable assistive products in all countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) is introducing the Priority Assistive Products List (APL). The APL is the first stage of implementing a global commitment to improve access to assistive products – the Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE).