Global Report on Assistive Technology is launched - setting the roadmap for improving access to assistive technology for everyone

UNICEF, World Health Organization
May 17, 2022

There is a large, unmet need for assistive technology worldwide. The WHO-UNICEF Global Report on Assistive Technology was developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA71.8) on improving access to assistive technology. The report will play an instrumental role in setting the global roadmap for improving access to assistive technology for everyone, everywhere. 

According to the Global Report findings, 2.5 billion people - one in three people - need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or communication aids and cognition. This figure increases to two thirds of the global population of age 60 years and older. In low- and middle-income countries access levels can be as low as 3% of the need. By 2050 its estimated that 3.4 billion will be without access to these life-changing products. Despite this, and the overwhelming evidence that AT can have a significant effect on the user, the community and provide significant benefit to the economy, the sector remains in its infancy.

The Global Report for AT was built on much of the work from the UK’s largest ever aid investment into assistive technology, AT2030 - a £40 million, match-funded programme, designed to test ‘what works’ in getting AT to those that need it around the world. Led by Global Disability Innovation Hub, the programme has built capacity and ecosystems, providing evidence, data and innovative AT acceleration in over 40 countries globally. With over 150 insight papers contributing to the Global Report, as well as support given to the international tools used to collate its evidence, the UK has taken a uniquely leading position in this cutting-edge space by not only focussing on AT distribution but on the research, tools and systems change required to increase real impact for disabled people, families and communities.

The Global Report on Assistive Technology presents a comprehensive dataset and analysis of current assistive technology access, drawing the attention of governments and civil society to the need for, and benefit of, assistive technology, including its return on investment. The Global Report sets out ten recommendations for improving access to assistive technology, supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, inclusive Universal Health Coverage, and alignment with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Download the report