It is estimated that about 100,000 people need a wheelchair in Kenya annually. Across the 47 counties in Kenya, anecdotal evidence showed that health centres and access points for rehabilitative services are not evenly distributed, appropriately staffed, and sufficiently equipped. The situational analysis showed that Kenya’s access challenges are driven by a policy gap, limited service points with few trained personnel, fragmented delivery landscape, no national specifications, standards or supply chain and limited financing of rehabilitative services and wheelchairs.
The number of Palestine refugees registered by UNRWA recently grew to 5.7 million (from 5.5 million in 2019) in all its five field of operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. Among them are Palestine refugees with disabilities, who have long-term impairments, which in interactions with attitudinal, institutional, and environmental barriers prevent their full and effective participation on an equal basis with others in society. Persons with disabilities constitute an estimated 15 per cent of the global population1, and may constitute a higher percentage in humanitarian contexts, such as Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, in particular, which are UNRWA fields of operations.
The main actions undertaken in 2020 discussed in the report are:
- targeted and disability-specific services for persons with disabilities
- disability inclusion through programmes
- inter-agency coordination
- international protection advocacy
An interview is reported with Lucas Paes de Melo, the CEO of Amparo, to discuss the journey so far of prosthetics company, Amparo. Rather than focus on the product, this insights paper provides an honest reflection of the journey to establishing an assistive technology company and delves into transferable insights. In doing so, they aim to provide insights to help current and future AT entrepreneurs to see behind the curtain of working in this space.
Assistive technology is the products and services used by individuals with functional limitations to enable participation in society and realisation of rights afforded by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assistive Product List is a comprehensive list of products identified as essential for access through universal health coverage. Key stakeholders, including organisations of persons with disabilities, civil service organisations, academic organisations and government ministries are collaborating to integrate assistive technology into policy and develop a priority assistive products list for Malawi.
To understand the organisational characteristics of, and assistive products provided by, key stakeholders working in AT in Malawi.
Online survey of representatives from key stakeholder organisations.
We surveyed representatives of key stakeholder organisations to gather information regarding assistive technology product and service provision in Malawi. Responses were analysed using counts for closed-ended questions, and conventional content analysis for open-ended questions.
A total of 36 of the 50 APL products were provided by eight organisations. Related services were provided for 36 of the 50 APL products by twelve organisations. Five organisations reported providing both products and services. Products and services are largely funded by donation and provided free to those who require them.
A range of organisations in Malawi play a role in assistive product delivery and related services. Coordinated AP delivery and service provision is required at a national level which is sustainable and inclusive, and is based on identified needs of the Malawian population.
Background and aim:
This study investigated the current state of wheelchair services in Bangalore Rural district, as provided by Bangalore Baptist Hospital, and identified areas for improvement.
a cross-sectional survey was held among 50 wheelchair users. Data was collected on demographics, satisfaction, wheelchair skills and level of disability using QUEST, WST-Q and CHART-SF questionnaires.
Overall satisfaction can be described as more or less satisfied, scoring 3.8 out of 5. Wheelchair users were less satisfied with the services compared to the wheelchair itself. The skills a wheelchair users had were strongly correlated with satisfaction scores (p < 0.01). Differences in satisfaction between genders were observed and related to multiple factors.
Wheelchairs should be easy to use with support services being easily accessible. A wheelchair should be delivered together with a training program to provide the user with the skills to operate and maintain the wheelchair. There are gender-wise differences in satisfaction towards wheelchair services that influence satisfaction.
FindMyApps is a web-based selection-tool and errorless learning training program to help people with mild dementia/Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and caregivers find user-friendly apps. In preparation of a definitive trial, the impact and feasibility of the FindMyApps intervention on self-management and engagement in meaningful activities, including social participation, was explored.
Materials and methods
An exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial (trial registration approval number: NL7210) with pre/post measurements was conducted with community-dwelling people with mild dementia/MCI and their caregivers (n = 59) in the Netherlands. Dyads in the experimental group (n = 28) received training to use the tablet and FindMyApps, and the errorless learning method was taught to their caregivers. Control group dyads (n = 31) received a tablet (without FindMyApps), instructions on tablet-use and links to dementia-friendly apps. Validated instruments were used to assess person with dementia’s self-management, meaningful activities and social participation, caregiver’s sense of competence and both their quality of life.
Results and conclusions
No statistical significant group differences on the outcomes were found. Small to moderate effect-sizes in favour of the FindMyApps group were found for self-management and social participation. Caregivers tended to have more positive care experiences. Subgroup analyses showed that people older than 70 benefitted more from FindMyApps regarding self-management and higher educated people benefitted more regarding social participation. FindMyApps is feasible for the target group and may have potential to improve self-management and social participation. For a future definitive effectiveness trial a larger sample size is recommended, as well as taking into account the possible impact of education and age.
WHO has developed the assistive technology capacity assessment (ATA-C) tool, a system-level tool to evaluate a country’s capacity to finance, regulate, procure and provide assistive technology. The ATA-C tool enables countries to better understand the current status and identify key actions to improve access to assistive technology: it can be used for awareness raising, policy and programme design and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
The ATA-C is part of the WHO Assistive Technology Assessment (ATA) Toolkit, helping countries to collect effective and relevant data on assistive technology
To estimate population need and coverage for distance glasses, hearing aids and wheelchairs in India and Cameroon, and to explore the relationship between assistive product (AP) need measured through self‐report and clinical impairment assessment.
Population‐based surveys of approximately 4000 people each were conducted in Mahabubnagar district, India and Fundong district, Cameroon. Participants underwent standardised vision, hearing and musculoskeletal impairment assessment to assess need for distance glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs. Participants with moderate or worse impairment and/or self‐reported difficulties in functioning were also asked about their self‐reported AP need.
In this new report, ATscale describes the enormous gains that access to assistive technology (AT) can have in health, for the community and the economy. The figures are dramatic: investment in the provision of four assistive products - hearing aids, prostheses, eyeglasses, and wheelchairs - will result in a return on investment of 9:1.
Having access to AT can make the difference between failure or success in school, between a job or unemployment, between a life of opportunity or a life of dependency. An example: for a child in a low- or middle-income country, access to AT can make a difference of $100,000 in lifetime income.
Altogether, providing AT to all who need it would yield more than USD 10 trillion in economic benefits over the next 55 years.
Investing in AT both has a transformative impact on people’s wellbeing and makes sound economic sense for funders and governments.
This document is the final in a series of in-depth analyses that identify key barriers and promising market interventions. The previous four documents focused on wheelchairs, hearings aids, prostheses, and eyeglasses.
The report provides market landscapes of 3 areas of digital AT: mobile phones; screen readers; and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.
A common set of recommendations focused on improving access emerged from the individual product landscapes:
- Develop and adopt policies, including legislation, regulations, minimum product standards, and guidelines to support accessibility and uptake of digital AT at the global and country levels.
- Support governments of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to increase awareness of digital AT by including digital assistive products such as smartphones and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices on national assistive product lists.
- Support innovative financing schemes or negotiate pricing agreements to reduce the cost of digital AT to end users.
- Increase availability of training programmes for users, suppliers, and service providers on the availability of digital AT and digital literacy skills.
This webinar, hosted by Global Disability Innovation (GDI) hub, brings together a diverse panel of experts to discuss what inclusive design looks like in practice for them, who benefits and how it can offer methods to build a more accessible world that benefits all of us.
Speakers presentations were:
- What inclusive design means to GDI Hub and why it matters, drawing on our experience working in both the UK and globally
- An overview of inclusive design of the built environment in the UK and Kenya, including the role of access panels to embed the views of disabled people in planning and decision-making
- An introduction to GDI Hub’s AT2030 programme including our Inclusive Infrastructure research sub-programme that is conducting six global case studies in LMIC cities around the world over the next 2-3 years.
- The challenges and opportunities for an accessible Mongolia and the importance of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) engagement in decision-making
- The importance of inclusive planning processes for accessible cities in Indonesia
The case study highlights how school eye health programs can be successfully scaled in under-resourced and under-capacitated contexts, and ultimately supported through a sustainable financing mechanism. The case study shows how school eye health is an entry point and critical building block to comprehensive national eye health coverage. Through a pilot of the school eye health model, approximately 50,000 children received eye screenings across three counties in Liberia
Neuromuscular disorders are characterised by muscle weakness that limits upper extremity mobility, but can be alleviated with dynamic arm support devices. Current research highlights the importance and difficulties of evidence-based recommendations for device development. We aim to provide research recommendations primarily concerning upper extremity body functions, and secondarily activity and participation, environmental and personal factors.
Evidence was synthesised from literature, ongoing studies, and expert opinions and tabulated within a framework based on a combination of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model and contextual constructs.
Current literature mostly investigated the motor capacity of muscle function, joint mobility, and upper body functionality, and a few studies also addressed the impact on activity and participation. In addition, experts considered knowledge on device utilisation in the daily environment and characterising the beneficiaries better as important. Knowledge gaps showed that ICF model components and contextual constructs should be better integrated and more actively included in future research.
It is recommended to, first, integrate multiple ICF model components and contextual constructs within one study design. Second, include the influence of environmental and personal factors when developing and deploying a device. Third, include short-term and long-term measurements to monitor adaptations over time. Finally, include user satisfaction as guidance to evaluate the device effectiveness.
The purposes of this study were, first, to (re)design the user-interface of the activity tracker known as the MOX with the help of input from elderly individuals living independently and, second, to assess the use of and experiences with the adapted Measure It Super Simple (MISS) activity tracker in daily life.
The double diamond method, which was used to (re)design the user-interface, consists of four phases: discover, define, develop, and deliver. As a departure point, this study used a list of general design requirements that facilitate the development of technology for the elderly. Usage and experiences were assessed through interviews after elderly individuals had used the activity tracker for 2 weeks.
In co-creation with thirty-five elderly individuals (65 to 89-years-old) the design, feedback system, and application were further developed into a user-friendly interface: the Measure It Super Simple (MISS) activity. Twenty-eight elderly individuals (65 to 78-years-old) reported that they found the MISS activity easy to use, needed limited help when setting the tracker up, and required limited assistance when using it during their daily lives.
This study offers a generic structured methodology and a list of design requirements to adapt the interface of an existing activity tracker consistent with the skills and needs of the elderly. The MISS activity seemed to be successfully (re)designed, like the elderly who participated in this pilot study reported that anyone should be able to use it.
The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the novel lateral transfer assist robot facilitates easier transfers compared with a wheelchair in post-stroke hemiparesis patients.
This cross-sectional study enrolled 20 post-stroke hemiparesis patients, and the task difficulty of transfers was compared between a wheelchair and lateral transfer assist robot. All participants were asked to transfer from either wheelchair or lateral transfer assist robot to a platform table and back. The primary outcome was the transfer score of the Functional Independence Measure. The secondary outcome was the time required for transfer.
The transfer score of the Functional Independence Measure was significantly higher with lateral transfer assist robot than with wheelchair (p < .001). The transfer times from these devices to a platform table and back showed no significant differences (to device from platform table: 7.8 s, lateral transfer assist robot vs 7.6 s, wheelchair, p > .05: device to platform table: 7.1 s, lateral transfer assist robot vs 8.0 s, wheelchair, p > .05).
Transfer with a lateral transfer assist robot is easier than with wheelchair and facilitates independence in post-stroke hemiparesis patients.
Access to appropriate assistive technology is a challenge worldwide and especially in low GDP-per-capita countries. Nepal is one example of a country with several coinciding challenges: some claim having a high rate of blindness in the general population, a low-GDP-per capita and some studies claim it has a low literacy rate, especially in rural areas. Without appropriate assistive technology, some disabled youth may not get full access to education.
To gain insight into assistive technology use in rural Nepal, five blind teenagers in a mixed secondary school with disabled and non-disabled students in rural Nepal were interviewed about their daily smartphone use.
The results show that all the participants used screen readers on donated smartphones. None of the participants had received formal training in using smartphone screen readers and therefore lacked knowledge about basic and essential operational aspects of the devices as well as misguided expectations about the technology.
One implication of the findings is that smartphone accessibility features training material needs to be made easily available to schools and all disabled youth worldwide, as smartphones are increasingly becoming available in low-income remote regions with low literacy rates. The built-in accessibility features of smartphones promise disabled youth a non-stigmatizing platform for social participation and access to the information society.
This Disability Innovation Live session, looked at the Assistive Technology (AT) Product Narratives (PNs). The Product Narratives were developed by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) under the FCDO funded AT2030 programme, led by GDI Hub, in support of the ATscale Strategy.
These PNs set out what we know about the state of the global market for each AT product, and identify global recommendations for how to address some of the barriers to access currently experienced in low and middle-income countries. In this session, we hear from the experts about what the PNs are, how they will inform global policy, and how we hope they will help us reach more people with life-changing AT
During this interactive session, hosted by GSMA’s Assistive Tech team, we shared insights on the mobile disability gap, including findings from our gender and disability research, and lessons learnt from the innovation landscape. We also heard from several leading assistive tech innovators supporting the digital inclusion of people with disabilities, both visible or unseen across emerging markets
This webinar focussed on the role of stigma in preventing disability inclusion, and what enables it to be overcome, focused on innovative and creative methods
The speakers talked about:
- Culture, Paralympic legacy & how innovation can change mindsets
- Stigma research incorporating the perspectives of persons with disabilities & disability inclusive research processes
- Kenyan youth & the perception of people with disabilities
- Assistive technology, identity & the role of innovation
Background: Human movement, rehabilitation, and allied sciences have embraced their ambitions within the cycle of “RehabMove” congresses over the past 30 years. This combination of disciplines and collabo- rations in the Netherlands has tried to provide answers to questions in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports, while simultaneously generating new questions and challenges. These research questions help us to further deepen our understanding of (impaired) human movement and functioning, with and without supportive technologies, and stress the importance of continued multidisciplinary (inter)national collaboration.
Methods: This position stand provides answers that were conceived by the authors in a creative process underlining the preparation of the 6th RehabMove Congress.
Results: The take-home message of the RehabMove2018 Congress is a plea for continued multidisciplin- ary research in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports. This should be aimed at more individual- ized notions of human functioning, practice, and training, but also of performance, improved supportive technology, and appropriate “human and technology asset management” at both individual and organ- ization levels and over the lifespan.
Conclusions: With this, we anticipate to support the development of rehabilitation sciences and technol- ogy and to stimulate the use of rehabilitation notions in general health care. We also hope to help ensure a stronger embodiment of preventive and lifestyle medicine in rehabilitation practice. Indeed, general health care and rehabilitation practice require a healthy and active lifestyle management and research agenda in the context of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.
Source e-bulletin on Disability and Inclusion