A call for more inclusive assistive technology – Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

A call for more inclusive assistive technology


Casey McCowan,

Vânia de la Fuente-Núñez and

Lisa Johnson

9 July 2024

Chamkar Leu Public Vision Centre, Cambodia, funded by USAID and implemented by Fred Hollows through the ATscale program.

The world marked the first ever World Day for Assistive Technology on 4 June, a momentous occasion recognising that assistive technology (AT) transforms lives. Whether it’s glasses, hearing aids, prostheses, or a wheelchair, most people will require AT at some point in their lives.

Today, 2.5 billion people need at least one form of AT. By 2050 this number is likely to rise to 3.5 billion. Appropriate AT can unlock opportunities, enabling greater independence and active participation in society. Yet, millions of people around the world are unable to access the AT they need.

The Australian Government recently pledged to address gaps in access to AT in the Pacific region. It has committed to increasing funding for Pacific countries to screen school-aged children and provide them with essential aids such as glasses, hearing aids and mobility aids.

Addressing the needs of school-aged children is timely and necessary. In many Pacific countries, children with disabilities encounter numerous barriers to [...]

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