How AT2030 has facilitated a 94% price reduction to power access to life-changing hearing aids

Global Disability Innovation Hub, UNICEF
March 4, 2024

In 2021 as part of the UK aid funded AT2030 programme, the Global Disability Innovation Hub and UNICEF were able to add hearing aids to the UNICEF Supply Catalogue for the first time.

The catalogue enables governments around the world to access competitively priced and procured products - offering low-cost high-quality solutions for the first time. Through a process of strategic supplier engagement and a joint global tender with the World Health Organisation, long-term agreements are founded. This mechanism enables purchasing powers of scale for governments and partners looking to procure, alongside support and advice through UNICEF Supply Division's Procurement Services.

In Rwanda alone, a 94% reduction has been achieved. Commercially in Rwanda the same hearing aid could cost as much as $2,000. Through the UNICEF Supply Catalogue, a price of $118 was secured. Last year, this reduction paved the way for a shipment of 1,200 hearing aids, as part of a pilot programme led by UNICEF and the Government of Rwanda, with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The WHO World Report on Hearing Loss states that over 1.5 billion people currently experience some degree of hearing loss, which could grow to 2.5 billion by 2050. Globally more than 1.5 billion people experience some decline in their hearing capacity during their life course, of whom at least 430 million will require care. Loss of hearing can have far-reaching consequences, from language development and psychosocial well-being, to quality of life, educational attainment and economic independence. Unaddressed, hearing loss imposes a global cost of more than $ 980 billion annually.

The 2024 #WorldHearingDay focused on 'Changing Mindsets' with a vision to callenging misperceptions and stigma, in order to reduce barriers to making ear and hearing care a reality for all.

Find out more about Rwanda, and the impact of AT2030 systems strengthening to drive access in low- and middle-income counties.