Worldwide over one billion people are in need of assistive technology (AT), a number predicted to rise to two billion by 2050 due to population ageing and an increase in noncommunicable diseases (1). Yet only one in every 10 people who needs AT has access to it, and this gap is even more prominent in low- and middle-income countries (1).
The AT sector faces multiple barriers, both in the supply of appropriate, affordable, quality products and in the unmet demand for these products from users, service providers and national health systems.
The ATA-C tool and what it can do
The Assistive Technology Capacity Assessment (ATA-C) tool has been developed to help understand the AT sector at national and subnational level using the 5P framework. The aim is to assist local stakeholders in collecting information to build up a comprehensive understanding of a country’s capacity to regulate, finance, procure and provide AT to meet national needs appropriately. This in turn can inform decision-making, strengthen the AT sector and improve access to AT.
The ATA-C is designed to take a wide perspective across the entire AT system and is not for detailed planning or analysis of a specific assistive product. The assessment can serve three purposes:
1. Awareness raising: To provide initial information at national or subnational level about the current AT situation (using a brief version).
2. Policy and programme design: To identify key gaps and opportunities in the AT sector to inform decision-making when designing policies, strategic action plans and programmes (using the full assessment).
3. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation (M&E): To monitor and evaluate the AT situation in a country over time.