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World Day for Assistive Technology Underway



Today marks the launch of the first ever World Day for Assistive Technology.

 

Aiming to raise awareness of the importance of assistive technology and kickstart action to address decades of under-investment, organizations and businesses from multiple sectors are coming together for the first time to call for urgent global action.

 

The day comes two years on from the first global report on assistive technology, published by WHO and UNICEF, which revealed shocking gaps in access to assistive products, including wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetics and digital devices.

 

Crucially those backing the day want to urgently improve access in low-income countries, where only 10% of people have access to assistive technology compared to 90% in high-income countries.  

 

The new global day of action is supported by high profile individuals including TV presenter, former Paralympian and wheelchair user, Ade Adepitan; Malian singing duo Amadou and Mariam, who both have visual impairments; and Kenyan-born British paralympic wheelchair racer Anne Wafula Strike (pictured). 

 

Access to assistive technology for those who need it, can transform individuals’ lives, enabling children to go to school and people to go to work. Those supporting the day believe it is unacceptable that millions of adults in low- and middle-income countries can’t make a living because they can’t access or afford an assistive product like a wheelchair or a hearing aid.

 

They further know that businesses across the world have a key role to play in promoting access to assistive technology and ensuring workplaces are inclusive and meeting the needs of people who rely on assistive products. 

 

“I can’t imagine trying to live my life without my wheelchair,” said Ade Adepitan.

 

“There would have been no wheelchair basketball, no travelling, no taking my son to nursery. Going to work and socializing with friends would have been impossible. This is why it’s shocking that today only a small minority of people in low- and middle-income countries who need wheelchairs and other forms of assistive technology, can actually access them.  

 

“Many of us in high-income countries take it for granted that we can access these things when we need them, but for millions of people around the world this is not the case. In Nigeria, where I was born, less than 10% of people who need a wheelchair can access one, and many children miss out on an education as a result. 

 

This has to change. It’s why I’m supporting the first ever World Day for Assistive Technology and I encourage others to as well. Wheelchairs, as well as other assistive products are life-transforming for those who need them.” 

 

World Day for Assistive Technology has been launched as part of the global Unlock the Everyday campaign, aimed at people who currently use or need assistive technology, their communities, organizations working to improve the lives of assistive technology users, the private sector and policymakers and leaders across the globe.  

 

To find out more about the campaign visit www.UnlockTheEveryday.org  

 

 

 

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