Disability and rehabilitation

Wheelchair Service Training Package: Basic Level

The wheelchair is one of the most common assistive devices. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) highlights the responsibility of states to ensure personal mobility and to promote the availability of and access to such devices. It is estimated that 70 million people require wheelchairs worldwide, yet only 5-15% of people have access. Wheelchair service provision is very underdeveloped across the world. People in developing countries often depend on the donation of wheelchairs, which are frequently of poor quality and not suitable either for the users or their environment. Health and rehabilitation professionals are not always trained adequately to ensure people with disabilities get a quality wheelchair.

WHO, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has initiated the development of a Wheelchair service training package for different levels of personnel. After extensive expert consultations, field trials and an expert review, WHO is pleased to release the first in the series of guides: Wheelchair service training package: basic level. The main purpose of the training package is to develop the minimum skills and knowledge required by personnel involved in wheelchair service delivery. The training package will help to:

  • increase the number of wheelchair users who receive a wheelchair which meets their needs;
  • increase the number of wheelchair users who receive training in the use and maintenance of wheelchairs and how to stay healthy in a wheelchair;
  • increase the number of personnel trained in basic-level wheelchair service delivery;
  • improve the competencies of wheelchair service providers and therefore the quality of wheelchair service delivery and
  • achieve greater integration of wheelchair service delivery into rehabilitation services.

For more information, please contact khasnabisc@who.int.