Is there public funding available to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the necessary assistive devices and technologies?

Explanation

Habilitation and rehabilitation focus on equipping the individual with the specific knowledge, tools, or resources that he or she requires based on his or her unique circumstances and disability, such as assistive technologies, specific training, education, or skills development. Assistive devices and technologies such as wheelchairs, crutches, prostheses, mobility aides, hearing aids, visual aids, and specialized computer software and hardware (referred to as the ‘basic assistive devices’) increase mobility, hearing, vision and communication capacities. With the aid of these technologies, people with disabilities are better able to live independently and participate in their societies. This question only takes in consideration the basic assistive devices and technologies, as listed above.

In detail

47.5% respondents have replied that basic assistive devices are partly available and/or the government funds them partly or only for specific types of disability, while 22% replied there are none available or are not funded by the state. Key problems included:

  • Waiting lists: in order to obtain technology assistance, PDWs experience a time lag from 6 months to 1 year in many countries.
  • Limited selection or quantity of assistive technology: publically funded assistive technology  only encompasses basic assets, such as crutches, wheelchairs and prosthetics. Specific technological assistance such as technologies for bling people have to be provided by the individuals themselves and can only be provided by the private sector. New and more performant technology is often not offered by public provision, as budgets are limited
  • Reliance on NGO for technological assistance: Many developing countries report that government support on technological assistance is often inadequate and assistive device provision heavily relies on NGOs, volunteering, social welfare organisations and grassroots