PAHO launches Introductory Course on Assistive Technology in the Americas

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), launched the Introductory Course on Assistive Technology in the Americas in a webinar attended by more than 130 people from 22 countries. 

The objective of the course is to increase knowledge on assistive technology to promote its inclusion in the regional agenda and improve access to quality and affordable assistive services and products for the people who need them most: people with some kind of disability, whether permanent or temporary; elderly people and people with a chronic, degenerative health condition or non-communicable disease.

Assistive technology is a subset of health technology that refers to support systems, services and products that enable people with functional difficulties to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives. According to the Global Report on Assistive Technology, published on 16 May 2022, about 2.5 billion people in the world (1 in 3) need at least one assistive product, a figure that will increase to 3.5 billion people in 2050, but only between 3% and 90% have access to them; which increases their risk of exclusion, isolation, and poverty. The inclusion of assistive technology in universal health will bring many benefits at the individual, community and social levels.

The course, which is now available only in Spanish in the PAHO Virtual Campus for Public Health, is divided into 6 training modules with a total duration of approximately 7 hours, including readings, videos, and evaluation activities. It is a self-learning course intended for:

  • people in charge of planning and providing health services in primary and specialized care, including outpatient and hospital services;
  • health professionals at all levels;
  • focal points and main actors in the assistive technology sector in specialized agencies and national and subnational governments of the Member States of the Region; and
  • Members of PAHO/WHO departments and country offices.

The Introductory Course on Assistive Technology in the Americas emerges as a form of technical support from PAHO's Departments of Health Systems and Services and Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health for Member States to increase knowledge on the subject of assistive technology as required by resolution WHA 71.8 “Improving access to assistive technology”.