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Adoption of World Health Assembly 71 Resolution on Assistive Technology

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Improving access to assistive technology, World Health Assembly Resolution EB142.R6 C.F.R. (2018).

On the first day of the World health Assembly, Pakistan, supported by China, Iraq and Italy organised a side event on assistive technology. The event, titled Assistive technology: making Universal Coverage Inclusive, aimed at raising awareness about the need for and benefits of assistive technology and its place within Universal health Coverage national strategies.

The event showcased initiatives already underway which illustrate how together we can deliver cost-effective and life changing solutions to more than 1 billion people who need assistive products. Initiatives included financing models, market shaping approaches, as well as low cost technology solutions.

The panel included:
  • Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Deputy Director-General;

  • Ambassador Farukh Amil, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations;

  • Ambassador, Luis Gallegos, Ecuador Permanent Mission to the United Nations;

  • Dr Sana Hafeez, WHO Champion for Assistive Technology;

  • Mr Jia Yong, Vice President of China Disabled Persons Federation;

  • Mr Li Xi, Director General of China Assistive Devices and Technology Centre;

  • Dr Aziz Abdusattor Odinazoda, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of the Population, Republic of Tajikistan;

  • Dr Danny Graymore, Head, Global Funds, Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom

Improving access to assistive technology: Report by the WHO Director-General

WHO estimates that there are more than 1 billion people who would benefit from one or more assistive products. With populations ageing and the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases rising across the world, this number is likely to rise above 2 billion by 2050, with many older people needing two or more products as they age. Those who most need assistive technology include, among others: people with disability, older people, people with noncommunicable diseases, people with mental health conditions including dementia and autism, and people with gradual functional decline.

5. As at 1 February 2018, a total of 175 Member States had ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since its adoption in 2006. Ratification means that they are obliged to ensure access to assistive technology at an affordable cost and to foster international cooperation in order to achieve this (Articles 4, 20, 26 and 32).

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