Breaking news World Health Organization adopts resolution ‘Improving access to assistive technology’

This is fantastic news coming from the World Health Organization and will surely be a catalyst to many new developments globally – affecting everyone who needs assistive technology.

The resolution

URGES Members States:
(1) “to develop, implement and strengthen policies and programmes, as appropriate, to improve access to assistive technology within universal health and/or social services coverage;
(2) to ensure that adequate and trained human resources for the provision and maintenance of assistive products are available at all levels of health and social service delivery;
(3) to ensure that assistive technology users and their cares givers have access to the most appropriate assistive products and use them safely and effectively;
(4) to develop a national list, where appropriate, of priority assistive products that are affordable and cost-effective and meet minimum quality and safety standards, drawing on WHO’s priority assistive products list, as relevant and/or applicable, based on national needs and context;
(5) to promote or invest in research, development, innovation and product design in order to make existing assistive products affordable, and also to develop a new generation of products including high-end or advanced assistive technology, taking advantage of universal design and new evidence-based technologies, in partnership with academia, civil society organizations, in particular with persons with disabilities and older persons and their representative organizations, and the private sector, as appropriate;
(6) to encourage international and/or regional collaboration for the manufacturing, procurement and supply of priority assistive products, ensuring that these remain affordable and available across borders;
(7) to collect population-based data on health and long-term care needs including those that may be met by assistive technology in order to develop evidence-based strategies, policies and comprehensive programmes;
(8) to invest in and promote inclusive barrier-free environments so that all people who need assistive technology can make optimum use of it, in order to live independently and safely and participate fully in all aspects of life;
(9) to promote the inclusion of priority assistive products and inclusive barrier-free environments within emergency preparedness and response programmes”;

REQUESTS the Director-General:
(1) “to prepare a world report on assistive technology in the context of an integrated approach, based on the best available scientific evidence and international experience, with the participation of all relevant units within the Secretariat and in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including the possibility of establishing an Expert Advisory Group, within existing resources, for this purpose;
(2) to provide the necessary technical and capacity-building support for Member States, aligned with national priorities, in the development of national assistive technology policies and programmes, including procurement and financing, regulation, training for health and social services, appropriate service delivery, and inclusive barrierfree environments;
(3) to provide technical and capacity-building support to countries, on request, to assess the feasibility of establishing regional or sub regional manufacturing, procurement and supply networks for assistive technology;
(4) to contribute to and engage in, as appropriate, the development of minimum standards for priority assistive products and services, in order to promote their safety, quality, cost-effectiveness and appropriateness;
(5) to report on progress in the implementation of the present resolution to the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly and thereafter to submit a report to the World Health Assembly every four years until 2030”.

A PDF file of the draft resolution (now adopted)  can be found by clicking on this link