February 2019 - May 2019
Quarterly Update
Rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) first pilot in Pakistan
Strengthening provision of assistive products in Tajikistan
Working session between ATscale and Chinese partners
Update on the GReAT Consultation 2019
2019 World Autism Awareness Day: Assistive Technology, Active Participation
Internship opportunities within the GATE team 
Updates and Links
Upcoming events

Rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) first pilot in Pakistan

rATA survey pilot in a household in Pakistan: a woman is looking at the survey and selecting assistive products she might need

The rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) is a new national needs-based assessment survey on assistive technology developed by WHO. The survey aims to collect data to assess the current status of AT need, barriers to access, the demand and supply, as well as the impact on people’s health and well-being. The outcomes will be input to identify the gaps in AT provision and guide the development of national strategies and action plans to improve AT access in countries.

Pakistan is the first country where rATA has been piloted. Training workshops on rATA were held in Islamabad and Karachi in April 2019. The Ministry of National Health Service, Regulation and Coordination and Health Service Academy in collaboration with WHO led the training sessions, which were attended by 50 participants. The survey in Pakistan plans to cover 16 districts of 7 provinces, with over 60000 individuals from about 9600 households.

Strengthening provision of assistive products in Tajikistan 

Two Tajik children with disability playing


In recent years, with strong support from WHO country office, Tajikistan has adopted policies and national strategies to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities and to improve access to assistive products, including development of a National Priority Assistive Products List.

Building on this, WHO Country Office will support the government of Tajikistan with a two-year project to expand and strengthen its AT sector, both in terms of the service provision infrastructure and the range/quality of products available.
A ‘one-stop’ AT service provision model will be piloted in Dushanbe and its adjoining districts, to showcase the benefits of an integrated service provision approach and consolidate lessons learned. The project will be implemented by the WHO Country Office in Tajikistan with support from the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the GATE team at WHO headquarters. 
Read more about AT in Tajikistan in a newly published situational analysis.

Working session between ATscale and Chinese partners 

A group picture will al the partners from different Organizations attending the meeting in China


A delegation of ATscale (from Clinton Health Access Initiative, Global Disability Innovation Hub and WHO), the UK Department for International Development and representatives of China Disabled Persons Federation (CDPF) and the China Assistive Devices and Technology Center (CADTC) had a high-level meeting on 25 and 26 February in Beijing, followed by a visit to the National Quality Supervision and Testing Center for Rehabilitation Instruments on 28th February.

The two-day meeting further strengthened the collaborative working spirit of ATscale. During the meeting several priority working areas for 2019 were outlined, including development of assistive product specifications for procurement. CDPF, CADTC and ATscale plan to co-host the event ‘ATscale Day’ during the International Care & Rehabilitation Expo and Belt & Road High-Level Forum on Disability Cooperation in Beijing (October 2019).

Update on the GReAT Consultation 2019

The GReAT Consultation will be held in Geneva on 22 and 23 August 2019. It will serve as a first global consultation to inform the development of the Global Report on Assistive Technology. A call for contributions to the 2-day programme closed on 10 April. A total of 122 abstracts were submitted, and 85 contributions have been accepted for presentation at the Consultation.

WHO has also finalized the selection of members for an ad-hoc Advisory Group of Experts on Assistive Technology. The primary function of the Advisory Group is to provide high-level advice and oversight towards the Global Report. The full list of Members of the Advisory Group and their biographies can be found here.

2019 World Autism Awareness Day: Assistive Technology, Active Participation

A child with autism using a board with communication cards and pictures


2 April 2019 was World Autism Awareness Day. This year theme was Assistive Technology and Active Participation. For many people on the autism spectrum, access to appropriate and affordable assistive products is a prerequisite to being able to exercise their basic human rights and participate fully in the life of their communities. Read more here.

Internship opportunities within the GATE team 

A portrait of Licia Di Pietro, intern in the GATE team


Are you a student who is passionate about creating an inclusive world through assistive technology? The GATE Team welcomes eager students to complete an internship in the WHO HQ in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Ms Licia Di Pietro joined the GATE team as an intern in March 2019. Licia is completing her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Information Engineering of University of Pisa. Her research is focused on the design of open-source and affordable medical devices as a key tool for universal health coverage. During her internship, Licia is supporting the development of Assistive Product Specifications and mapping need for assistive technology using existing population data sources. 

If you are a student in public health, rehabilitation sciences, assistive technology, or international development, and excited by the potential to contribute to the GATE Team, please visit the WHO website and look out for upcoming internship opportunities.

Update: 27 March National AT day

Earlier this year, the United States Senate unanimously adopted a resolution declaring 27 March National Assistive Technology Awareness Day.


New publications: Provision of wheelchairs in Tajikistan: economic assessment of alternative options 

Assistive technology in Tajikistan situational analysis

Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Health Products: WHO Annual Report 2018 (check pages 16 and 17 for key achievements related to assistive technology)

12th session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: 11-13 June 2019, UN Headquarters, New York
First meeting of the Ad hoc Advisory Group of Experts on Assistive Technology: 21 August 2019, WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland
GReAT Consultation: 22 – 23 August 2019, WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland
Equipping, enabling and empowering
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