WCPT represented the physical therapy profession at a World Health Organization consensus meeting to finalise a list of assistive products which member states should make widely available.
The aim is to establish a WHO Priority Assistive Products List, along the lines of the existing Essential Medicines List, and make vital products accessible to older and disabled populations everywhere by helping governments plan and focus.
The list is being compiled as part of WHO’s Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) initiative.
The consensus meeting, held in March, considered information drawn from a global survey about priority assistive products, which drew 10,000 responses from 160 countries and was publicised by WCPT. Around 70 representatives from organisations in health, disability, rehabilitation and ageing as well as users of assistive technologies attended the meeting.
Essential products such as wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids, artificial limbs and communication and memory aids will be among the products in the new list. According to WHO, only one in ten people globally currently have access to these products. The finalised list will be launched in May, at the World Health Assembly.
British physiotherapist Alice Inman represented WCPT at the meeting. “The published document will be of use to physical therapists globally, to champion the provision of these devices to the patients and populations our profession supports,” she said. “I was proud to represent WCPT and our profession.”
“The GATE initiative aligns closely with the professional expertise of physical therapists, and will be especially beneficial for those working in low and middle-income countries. The publication will assist calls for assistive technology to be more widely available, and encourage innovation that complements the delivery and outcomes of clinical rehabilitation.”