Assistive Technology Center for Disabled & Older people
Enabling persons with disabilities (PWDs) and elders have a better quality of life.
Today only one in ten people in need have access to essential assistive technology (AT). Most persons with disabilities and their families are excluded, locked into poverty and isolated by the intersectionality of their oppression and lack of access.
Assistive products can transform an individual’s life, as well as that of families and entire communities. Without it, the impact of disease and disability on the person, his/her family and society is heightened. People thus affected are being denied a fundamental human right.
Assistive products enable and promote the inclusion, participation and engagement of persons with disabilities, ageing population and people with co-morbidities in the family, community and all areas of society, including the political, economic and social spheres.
WHO estimates that there are more than 1 billion people who would benefit from one or more assistive products. With populations ageing and the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases rising across the world, this number is likely to rise above 2 billion by 2050, with many older people needing two or more products as they age. Those who most need assistive technology includes, among others: people with disability, older people, people with noncommunicable diseases, people with mental health conditions including dementia and autism, and people with gradual functional decline. However, today only 1 in 10 people in need have access to assistive products, owing to high costs and a lack of financing, availability, awareness and trained personnel. For example, 70 million people need a wheelchair but only 5–15% have access to one, and hearing aid production meets only 10% of global need and 3% of the need in low-income countries. Moreover, 200 million people with low vision do not have access to spectacles or other low-vision devices. This has a significant adverse impact on the education, livelihood, health and well-being of individual, and families, communities and societies of those who are deprived of the required and appropriate assistive products.
Now coming to India – 1/6 global population with all possibilities and a possible highest need for AT in the world. WHO cannot reach to remaining 90% of the population in need without active engagement of India. At present, globally nearly 80% of the assistive products are produced in one country. WHO estimates current AT market is about 200 billion with potential to grow to a 1 trillion-dollar industry by 2030. AT sector has all the possibilities like pharma, medical or bio-technology sector – India made significant progress in these areas and now time to invest in the AT sector.
There is a gap between need, demand and supply. The need is so high. Demand is high, but supply is small. In economics ‘market failure’ term. High quality products are available to the rich, but only low-quality products for the poor (as charitable giving). There is high dependency on western/foreign markets. A hearing aid costing 200 dollars is being sold here for 5000 dollars by the time it passes through distributor, retailer, doctor, audiologist, technician to the ultimate user.
AT is a great enabler: it is the first step into education, the first step out of poverty, the first step into work and employment, the first step towards inclusion and participation, and the first step to enhance mobility, independence and freedom.
- Assistive Device Unit. (Prosthetic & Orthotic and Adaptive Devices)
- Professional Wheelchair Service Provision. (W/C, Tricycles and Supportive seating)
- Providing Developmental Aids & Aplliances for Children with Special Needs