Access to Assistive Technology (AT) and relevant services is of great importance for inclusion of persons with functional difficulties in education, employment, and social life. The Global Report on Assistive Technology, published in 2022 by WHO and UNICEF has confirmed large unmet needs for AT across the world, particularly in LMICs. In poor and vulnerable populations, access to AT and related services may be a key element in poverty reduction and development of inclusive societies.
Ensuring access to AT for all in need is an important element in reaching several of the Sustainable Development Goals. While there is currently an international momentum for a radical shift to improve the situation globally, this is no doubt a huge task in terms of funding and prioritising, building relevant services and capacity in LMICs. Bearing in mind the large socio-economic and socio-cultural variation between countries, we need to develop knowledge-based strategies and solutions that are adapted to various contexts. Research and innovation can contribute to map use of and need for AT and develop technological solutions and service delivery models adapted to LMICs.
AT is an interdisciplinary field, and it is time for researchers, innovators, users, businesses, governments, non-governmental and international organisations to work together towards closing the gap between access to and need for AT.
For this Special Thematic Session on “Assistive Technology in Low- and Middle-income Countries (LMICs)”, we welcome papers on evidence and experiences documenting individual needs and access to AT, innovative technologies and AT products, and provision of AT for LMICs. Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Exploring and identifying individual needs for AT in LMICs
- Measuring access to AT in LMICs
- Identifying barriers to AT in LMICs
- Civil society engagement in AT provision, services, and capacity building
- Innovative technologies and AT products for LMICs
- User involvement, user satisfaction and usability of AT products
- Case studies and projects that promote access to AT in LMICs.
- Tone Øderud, SINTEF Digital, Norway
- Arne H. Eide, SINTEF Digital, Norway
Information: sts09 at aaate2023 dot eu