Close to 1 billion people globally today do not have access to assistive technology (AT), devices such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, and prosthetic limbs. The gap is set to double by 2050 if we do nothing.
A lack of access to AT for people who need it results in children rejected from education, adults being excluded from work or family life, and older people being prohibited from participating in their communities. Increasingly AT is digital or requires digital to be provided, to the extent the WHO has launched a new digital assistive technology agenda.
To use digital products, people need to be digitally literate. Digital literacy is essential to 21 st century life from developing skills essential for employment to be able to critically assess digital media so as not simply to believe what is shown but to understand there is a perspective of the person creating and sharing the media which the consumer must be cognisant 2 . COVID-19 has demonstrated two related problems:
1) People with disabilities have been disproportionately excluded from education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities in low and –middle-income countries.
2) Supply chains have been disrupted globally which has affected access to AT.
On Wednesday 29th 11.00-12.00 we take the important debate: Leveraging on innovators to tackle the need for Assistive Technology.
Join us and this great panel via stream:
Moderator: Fredrik Syversen, Business and strategy director, IKT-Norge