The World Health Organization 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 digni ed 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.
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). The APL includes 50 priority assistive products, selected on the basis of widespread need and impact on a person’s life.
To capture the opinions of a larger global population, especially those of users and caregivers, a global survey in 52 languages was launched and made available online for three months. From the list of 100 products generated in Delphi Round 2, respondents were asked to select up to 50 assistive products that they thought should be given priority. The survey was widely disseminated by Member States, UN agencies, WHO of ces, collaborating centres and partners, and the International Disability Alliance. 10,208 people from 161 countries took part in the survey, 44% of whom were older people or people with disabilities.