With support from AT 2030, funded by UK Aid, on 6-7 and 19-20 November 2019, WHO, UNICEF and CHAI co-hosted two assistive technology procurement workshops in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with over 140 participants from 12 African countries and eight Eastern European/Central Asian countries to raise awareness about assistive product specification (APS) and the procurement manual; discuss challenges faced in procuring assistive products; and to learn about procurement best practices that ensure appropriate, quality products can reach those in need in the most efficient manner.
Over the two days, product experts highlighted some key considerations when designing a tender for assistive products, national procurement officers, and assistive technology users about their experiences accessing and using their products. Participants shared procurement challenges and best practices in group discussions and worked together to find tangible next steps to improve assistive technology procurement. Some of the key findings from the procurement workshops were that there is a limited range of assistive technology being procured and limited capacity to procure quality products. Participants also identified clear ways WHO, UNICEF, and CHAI can support countries to address these challenges.