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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1827-1828
Improving the access of assistive products and aiming to make it more affordable


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2018
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Improving the access of assistive products and aiming to make it more affordable. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1827-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Improving the access of assistive products and aiming to make it more affordable. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Aug 15];10:1827-8. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1827/222641


Dear Editor,

Assistive technology refers to the comprehensive range of services related to the delivery of assistive products and services to the elderly, and to people with disabilities or noncommunicable diseases or mental illnesses or with a gradual decline in their functioning abilities.[1] It enables people with special need to lead a healthy, constructive, self-sufficient, and respectable life to support their inclusion and participation in the community.[1],[2] Further, the available assistive products allow people to sustain their well-being, and even minimize the sufferings of family members.[2],[3]

The current global estimates suggest that in excess of 1 billion people are in need of one or more such products, and are expected to increase to more than 2 billion by the year 2050.[1]

However, the alarming fact is that only 10% of the people in need have an access to them (as less than 15% and 10% of people have access to wheelchairs and hearing aids respectively).[1] Further, almost three-fourth of the low-income nations has no training programmes for their health personnel, which is required for the management of the disability-related health conditions.[1],[2],[3]

In other words, a wide range of challenges such as no policy or deficiencies in the existing policies, nonavailability of these products in the public health sector, manufacturing industry catering to the needs of only high-income markets, limited availability, poor financial support, not designing context-specific product, expensive products, lacuna in the service delivery or procurement system, not offering integrated services within a single establishment, poor awareness among the general population, and shortage of trained staff, has limited the reach of these assistive products to those who need it.[1],[2],[3],[4]

However, in the absence of these products, people are often excluded from the community, left isolated, and eventually land into poverty, thereby magnifying the impact of disease and disability on the affected individual, family members, and even the society.[3],[4]

Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem and the presence of numerous challenges within the health set-up, the World Health Organization has launched an initiative to coordinate the activities to ensure that these products are affordable and within the reach of everyone irrespective of their geographical location.[1] At the same time, it will reemphasize the commitment of the policy makers to ensure that all the welfare measures are people centric and delivered in an integrated manner through the collaboration of multiple stakeholders.[2],[4],[5] Further, there is an immense need to address the concerns of consumer dissatisfaction, implement measures to create awareness about assistive technology, and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of different cadres of health workers.[2],[3],[5]

To conclude, there is no doubt that assistive technology minimizes the necessity for formal health care, supportive services, chronic care, and the workload of health personnel. In addition, it is a key strategy to enable people with disabilities to exercise their rights, and assist policy makers in their mission to accomplish universal health coverage. However, the need of the hour is to ensure that the reach of these assistive products is improved and is made affordable to all those who need it the most.

Acknowledgement

S.R.S. contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

P.S.S. contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

J.R. contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization Assistive technology - Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/assistive-technology/en/ [Last accessed on 2016 May 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Gibson G, Dickinson C, Brittain K, Robinson L. The everyday use of assistive technology by people with dementia and their family carers: a qualitative study. BMC Geriatr 2015;15:89.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]    
3.
Newton L, Dickinson C, Gibson G, Brittain K, Robinson L. Exploring the views of GPs, people with dementia and their carers on assistive technology: A qualitative study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e011132.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Steel EJ, Layton NA, Foster MM, Bennett S. Challenges of user-centred assistive technology provision in Australia: shopping without a prescription. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol 2016;11:235-40.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]    
5.
Lim M, Jung S. A brief introduction of assistive technology service delivery system in Republic of Korea. Stud Health Technol Inform 2015;217:991-95.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Third floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur: Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.222641

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