WHO disability and rehabilitation team hosts workshop on appropriate assistive devices
22 JUNE 2004 -- In the context of the 20th World Congress of Rehabilitation International, the WHO Disability and Rehabilitation Team hosted a workshop on appropriate assistive devices. The session was attended by 35 participants from around the world, many of whom live with the personal experience of disability. The workshop aimed to address the urgent need to improve the production and distribution systems for assistive devices in developing countries, where only 2%-5% of those who need assistive devices have access to them. Examples of assistive devices such as hearing aids and wheel chairs, and appropriate networks for their distribution, included those from Bangladesh, Botswana, China and India. It was clearly demonstrated that assistive devices are often a first step towards the inclusion of people with disabilities in their societies, often allowing them to work to meet the basic needs of their families. Participants noted the particular challenge of ensuring a trained cadre of multi skilled technicians across the globe to ensure the appropriate repair and maintenance of assistive devices.