The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) 16th World Congress in South Africa will join the World Health Organization (WHO) in hosting the first-ever Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) Symposium on “Assistive Technology for All” on the opening day, Monday, May 8. There will be two sessions of this symposium to ensure all participants have a chance to attend (1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. in Auditorium 1). Latest updates and achievements of the GATE initiative will be presented and will include opportunities for delegates to get involved within their national landscapes. GATE is a WHO flagship program.
A number of important activities under the banner of WHO GATE will be unveiled in 2017, not least the WHO Standards for P&O Service Provision, which will be officially launched in Cape Town. New P&O training guidelines are being developed in parallel. Together, these important reference documents will help drive advances in P&O care and rehabilitation.
Begun in 2015 and developed in partnership with United Nations (UN) Agencies, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), ISPO, academia, and user organizations of/for persons with disabilities, GATE seeks to open the doors for people with disabilities to access education and employment, overcome poverty, participate in all societal activities, and live with dignity, which are some of the key objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. Assistive technology is the tool, and often the first step for any next steps to ensure people with disabilities are equal beneficiaries of, and contributors to, any development process.
Globally, only 5-15 percent of people in need have access to assistive products, and the problem is more acute in low- and middle-income countries. As early as 1990, the UN Standard Rules identified access to assistive products as a precondition for equal rights and opportunities and urged member states to take affirmative actions to make these devices available at an affordable cost. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has now recognized access to assistive technology as a human right and has called for international cooperation to improve its access (Article 32).
The GATE initiative has one goal: to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive products globally. To achieve this, the GATE initiative will focus on four interlinked activities:
- Policy: assistive technology policy framework
- Products: Priority Assistive Products List
- Personnel: assistive products training package
- Provision: assistive products service delivery model
ISPO and WHO look forward to welcoming World Congress attendees to the GATE Symposium on May 8.
For more information, visit www.ispoint.org/who-gate.