Multi-country rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) 2019-2021: findings from a consultative review

World Health Organization
Feb. 1, 2024
AT2030 Resources

This report documents a consultative review of the rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) survey and implementation. The review was carried out to inform the further development and use of the rATA survey, considering the methods used for data collection, country support, data analysis, and dissemination. The report provides lessons learned, recommendations, and actions to support and improve mechanisms for measuring access to assistive technology. The findings and recommendations are relevant for all stakeholders with an interest in measuring need and access to assistive technology.

The WHO and UNICEF Global report on assistive technology highlights the urgent need for improving access to assistive products, with an estimated 2.5 billion people requiring at least one assistive product. This number is expected to rise to over 3.5 billion by 2050 (1). The Global report was informed by the first comprehensive dataset on population access to assistive technology collected using the WHO rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) survey in 35 countries from 2019 to 2021.

To enhance access to quality assistive products and services, the Global report recommends investing in effective and efficient data collection by Member States (1). The World Health Assembly resolution (WHA71.8) on improving access to assistive technology requests WHO’s technical and capacity-building support for Member States and progress reporting to the World Health Assembly in 2026 and 2030 (2). Analysing insights from the 2019-2021 rATA implementation will help support the report’s recommendations, to strengthen ongoing assistive technology data collection, and to inform progress reporting against WHA71.8.

The WHO Access to Assistive Technology team conducted a consultative review of the global rATA implementation process to identify successes, areas for improvements, and guide rATA survey refinement for future implementation. The review involved 29 stakeholders from 18 countries, including national, regional, and global rATA survey coordinators, data users, researchers, and users of assistive technology who; came together for in-person consultation to create consensus recommendations for improving the measurement of access to assistive technology.

This report presents recommendations that will build on the initial success of the rATA survey, helping to streamline the tool, making it increasingly accessible and cost-effective to implement. The recommendations address five key areas including: the questionnaire, data collection and tools, data management and analysis, country support for implementation, and communication, dissemination, and use of the findings.

The consultative review was a valuable process, offering insights into feedback, best practices, and opportunities for improving future rATA implementation and further developing the rATA survey as a primary tool for measuring and understanding the need and unmet need for assistive technology. Findings from this review will guide the WHO ATA Team and the GATE Global network on measuring access to assistive technology to strengthen the systematic collection, analysis, dissemination, and use of data on access to assistive technology worldwide.